Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
September 8, 2017

#562. How to Generate Product Qualified Leads. With Bridget Gleason and Mitch Morando.

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays.


[2:05] Bridget is joined on this episode by special return guest

Mitch Morando, CEO, and Founder of Whalr, the exclusive sponsor of Front Line Fridays. Whalr focuses on Product Qualified Leads and watches product usage for sales cues.

[4:43] A SaaS company with a freemium product can use Whalr to analyze the SaaS usage, and the firmographic data to determine PQLs to engage in a sales outreach.

[5:09] Bridget shares her experience with product use data. Mitch learned the PQL technique from game developers using player telemetry to build immersive games. He started applying the principles to his sales teams years ago.

[5:23] The ICP is a developer of freemium products for engineers and their sales team aimed at the enterprise.

[7:32] Mitch recommends best practices for sales engineers approaching engineers, and sales reps approaching management. These conversations happen by email, GitHub posts, and SMS chat.

[11:66] Bridget says uses use text and private Slack channels. Some sales reps use the title customer success engineer for engineers and learn the technical jargon. It’s a different conversation than with the VP of Engineering.

[14:02] What music is on Mitch’s playlist? Only one thing: Pearl Jam. Mitch speaks of how well they treat their fan club members at concerts.

[16:51] Mitch’s favorite sales book is Influence, by Robert Cialdini. Mitch has every new salesperson read this book. His favorite non-sales book is Boyd, by Robert Coram, about the fighter pilot, theoretician, and strategist who introduced OODA loops.

[22:04] Mitch asks for Andy’s and Bridgets favorite books. Andy’s is anything by Shakespeare and Harold Bloom’s book about Shakespeare. Bridget loves Les Miserables, and StartUp Nation, about Israel.

[23:21] Andy’s recommended business book is Triggers, by Marshall Goldsmith on behavior change. Bridget recommends Winner’s Dream, by Bill McDermott a memoir of his success journey in business.

[26:17] Mitch’s words to live by: “We come from a time where you were expected to make your own way. We didn’t wait around for people to do something for us.” — Unknown. Mitch is focused on improving his skills in qualifying and closing.

[29:00] Mitch asks about “the July lull.” Bridget says to have a plan for a lull. Andy spent years selling to Europe. You have to pierce the veil. He did a lot of business in August in Europe — maybe not in France! Mitch always had good sales in the lull.

September 5, 2017

#559. How to ‘Ingage’ Your Sales Team and Customers. With Evan Hackel.

Evan Hackel, CEO of Ingage Consulting, CEO of Tortal Training, and author of the book, Ingaging Leadership: 21 Steps to Elevate Your Business, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

Key Takeaways 

[2:49] Evan says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is focus. Salespeople have too much to say about product. They spend way too much time talking, and too little, listening for what the customer wants.

[3:42] So much content is given to reps that is uninteresting. Products are becoming more complicated. You can spend hours explaining a feature-rich product, when only a fraction of the features interest the customer.

[4:56] Reps end up distracting the buyer by giving them too much to talk about. Listen to what the customer wants to talk about.

[5:20] Spelling and grammar errors, and bad copy, are very awkward. Have a communication expert review what you plan to send to customers, before you send it.

[7:09] The ‘I’ in ‘Ingaging’ stands for Involvement, so your staff, customers, and vendors can become involved in your success. Senior staff who want to ‘ingage’ the company in strategic planning, solicit ideas from the ones doing the actual work.

[11:50] Leaders and managers fear being exposed as frauds. They don’t want their superiors wondering why a staffer came up with better ideas than a manager. But the staff are very pleased to be involved. Evan gives a successful case study.

[17:14] ‘Ingagement’ is coaching, more than direction. When the team builds the plan through coaching, they believe and execute it. Evan has three questions for ‘ingaging’ his team.

[19:35] Evan also has a process for ‘ingaging’ customers. He sets up advisory councils of B2B customers. For consumers, you would do focus groups for a similar result. The goal is to get the customers’ perspectives on the company.

[21:22] Get people together. Evan holds one live council a year, plus web meetings that are updates. Evan asks customers to serve three-year terms. Customers do 80% of the talking.

[25:54] Virtual selling, with no customer contact, leads to increased churn. Relationship-building keeps sales human. Evan likes to have multiple contacts in an organization, so the customer is not lost after a personnel change.

[27:32] Someone from Ingage Consulting visits clients once a year, and usually sees them twice more at trade shows. Other meetings are by Zoom, if possible. Evan describes what Tortal Training is and how it helps client training and e-learning.

[29:29] Andy suggests that top leadership needs to stay involved in a customer’s ‘ingagement,’ if they start, or it is seen as a withdrawal. Evan mentions the difficulty of visiting clients around the country or world. Evan likes trade shows.


July 12, 2017

#507. How to Identify Product Qualified Leads. With Mitch Morando.

Mitch Morando, Founder and CEO of Whalr, helping sales teams identify product qualified leads, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[:43] Mitch tells how a taxi driver used the challenger sale on him. He ended up giving the driver a big tip.

[4:07] Mitch says the biggest single challenge facing sales reps is training. He often meets reps who haven’t been taught the fundamentals of technique and the professionalism of sales.

[4:56] One alarming trend is the emphasis on the SDR or BDR function as a career. Prospecting is taught, but no closing. Promoting an SDR to an SDR manager removes them one step further from closing. Mitch offers advice to SDRs.

[8:36] SDRs should move out of that role within six months to a year, to coach other SDRs, or move into the role of an AE or a sales professional.

[12:32] The more tightly a role is defined, the less power the individual has to do things their way. Mitch and Andy would rather hire the ‘misfits’; misfits are coachable.

[14:05] Reps should have opportunities to develop their style, and to experiment. Mitch suggests identifying talents, and coaching to them, ‘C’ players can be coached into ‘B’ players. They need to be developed into the ‘A’ players, for growth.

[18:20] Mitch talks about starting Whalr. His background is in code. He sold to game developers, and he learned from their activities. He set out to apply player usage telemetry into the SaaS user experience, to inform his sales efforts.

[22:07] The Whalr platform converts data into identity intelligence. It starts with the user signing into the freemium model. What do they do within the product? This indicates the optimal time and way to reach out to them.

[23:54] Whalr monitors product use, and when it sees something ‘interesting,’ it pushes intel to Salesforce. The goal is to get it in front of the rep, with context, so the rep knows how to reach out and interact.

[25:17] Mitch explains the different types of intel and the context they provide. One example is a high number of users, in a short window of time. After highlighting interesting behavior, Whalr will filter for ‘firmographic’ information.

[28:15] Companies increasingly are directing contacts to sales before trying the freemium. Mitch blames this on new sales leaders. Whalr offers them user visibility. Freemium and credit card use is lead gen. Education of sales leaders is the key.

[30:49] The Whalr ICP is Bay Area (local), developer-focused, with open-sourced models, freemium models, or engineering development platforms. Whalr watches for resurfacing leads (used as a student, now using as an employee).


May 27, 2017

#469. Reduce Wasted Sales Time with Clean Data. With Shawn Finder

Shawn Finder, CEO of ExchangeLeads, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[2:33] Shawn is in Toronto, with teams also in the U.S. and Eastern Europe. ExchangeLeads is a B2B platform that allows sales and marketing reps in the U.S. and Canada to download targeted, validated, and filtered contacts.

[3:24] The ExchangeLeads platform dashboard is available 24/7, to download new contacts, upload and validate existing contacts against threats, and exchange old contacts for new contacts. Exchange makes a spreadsheet of validated contacts.

[4:59] ExchangeLeads subscriptions are $49 and $149 a month, for set numbers of contracts. Clients can also purchase additional credits at any time.

[5:59] Each contact is validated for email and phone, and is checked against 52+ threats. Credit is provided for valid contacts, which go into the main database.

[6:46] Shawn jumped into the field of lists because of dissatisfaction about the quality of databases available. The goal was 95+% quality contacts, with less than 5% error. ExchangeLeads checks contacts manually, and by automation.

[9:42] Manual checks start with lists for the paying clients, and move out from there. Other verification processes are in development to replace manual checks. Shawn recommends companies validate their email and phone contacts monthly.

[14:17] Even the largest companies do not have adequate data standardization in their existing lists. This is a service just launched by ExchangeLeads. When lists are validated, they can also be data-standardized, to make CRM searches simple.

[18:48] ExchangeLeads clears out the database every quarter for bad emails and phones, for a bounce rate of under 5%.

[20:13] Shawn has a wide range of client profiles. Many IT contacts, logistics, telecommunications, and computer software companies; many are looking for C-suite contacts.

[21:07] ExchangeLeads is sold either by subscription or by custom service, building lists, and adding LinkedIn profiles.

[22:23] ExchangeLeads offers freemium (50 contacts are free). The subscription model is sold by inside sales reps. Enterprise salespeople focus on the larger clients for custom service.

[24:33] Shawn has an upcoming sister product planned to help solve the challenge of getting from contact to appointment.

May 13, 2017

#457. Building and Hiring for a Startup. With Alex Berman.

Alex Berman, Co-Founder of Experiment27 (X27), a company that provides lead generation services for digital agencies, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[1:56] Alex is a digital nomad, and X27 is a virtual company of 11 employees spread between Mexico City and various U.S. locations. Alex’s personal drive for becoming an entrepreneur was to get rid of the office. He wanted to travel frequently.

[2:47] Alex explains his why for the startup. He’s in Wichita now, specifically because it’s the “cheapest city in America,” for low overhead as he gets the company going.

[3:29] Alex travels to learn new things. After New York came Las Vegas, to see Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project and share a drink with Tony, then to Chicago, L.A., and Las Vegas again, for family, and San Francisco, before Wichita.

[4:41] Alex finds the tech scene in every city is growing. Besides Las Vegas, he says tech in St. Louis is very welcoming. Since he can Skype with any customer, where he lives is immaterial, and all American cities start to blend for him.

[7:02] Alex had led a Marketing consultancy for Dom&Tom, and that encouraged him to start up a company. X27 does marketing for mobile app development agencies — UX/UI design branding. They act as CMOs and run the client’s team.

[8:42] Dom&Tom had used Alex as a contractor, and he ran the operation as needed. He discusses the outsourcing and internal hiring that led to X27. In eight months they grew from two to 11 employees. The goal is to have $2M AR by year end.

[10:01] Alex started the company doing all the sales himself by cold emails. Alex explains his effective email. Content matters, but targeting matters more. He reveals his secret for finding agencies that are good leads and discusses the email process.

[16:45] Alex hired two salespeople at the same time, based on advice from Jason Lemkin at SaaStr. He also learned not to hire in Q4. Sales went to $0 for two weeks over Christmas.

[18:14] Alex hired two salespeople, to check the process. They could both be good, both bad, or one each. If neither can sell, there is probably a process problem. If only one sells, the one who can’t has a sales problem. If they both sell, hire more.

[19:33] Alex interviews in two steps, the first to check for how they fit, the second to perform a task for an hour — to build a list and write an email. Most people refuse to do the test. He doesn’t check references. Bad hires will weed out.

[28:39] The discussion goes to hiring and onboarding procedures as the company scales. Will every employee be a self-starter? Alex learns as he goes along. Stress concentrates the attention!

[32:00] Alex describes the stack X27 uses internally.

July 21, 2016

Optimizing Sales Lead Generation. With Eric Quanstrom. #206

Eric Quanstrom is the Chief Marketing Officer for KiteDesk. KiteDesk provides automated prospecting software for B2B sales teams. Among the many topics covered in this episode, Eric and I talk about how to integrate inbound and outbound strategies to optimize sales lead generation, Eric’s three secrets to sales development success that are hidden in plain sight and what KiteDesk is doing to amp up the productivity of sales development teams.


July 12, 2016

How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Sales. With Mark Williams. #198

Mark Williams is the founder and managing director of ETN LinkedIn Training, and the UK’s leading LinkedIn and social selling expert (also known as “Mr. LinkedIn” on Twitter.) LinkedIn has become an indispensable tool for finding new prospects and decision-makers when developing new sales. In this episode, Mark describes his 5C system that teaches you how to become more active and engaged on LinkedIn. And, how to take full advantage of its power as a networking tool to develop the trust-based relationships with decision makers that result in orders.


July 4, 2016

Building a Referral Machine. With Tim Templeton. #191

Tim Templeton is an entrepreneur, consultant, speaker and bestselling author of several books, including The Referral of a Lifetime. In today’s episode, Tim shares his strategies for how to build a strong book of business based solely on referrals. Among the topics we discuss are:

  • How to develop a lifetime relationship with a client.
  • How to build your ABC database.
  • How to build your referral engine.
  • How to scale your business scalable using referrals.
May 26, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 164 with Benjamin Hastings. Efficiently Connecting with Prospects to Win More Deals

Benjamin Hastings is a two time entrepreneur and the co-founder of PerformYard. PerformYard is a web-based software platform that drives revenue growth and employee performance for the enterprise. On today’s episode, Ben and I discuss how to help sales reps become more efficient in how they use their time to help prospects make their decisions. Among the topics we discuss are:

• What are the most meaningful sales metrics for managers?

• What’s your definition of sales efficiency?

• Why are pipelines so full of unqualified suspects?

• The sales tool you need to help manage prospects in the middle of your funnel.

• Easy steps to increase engagement with prospects at each sales stage.

Tune in to find out more!

May 19, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 159 with Jamison Powell. Is Cold Calling Still Cost Effective?

Jamison Powell is the Vice President of Sales for New Voice Media. New Voice Media provides a call center software solution designed to help you sell more by increasing the efficiency of your inside sales team. In this episode, I talk with Jamison about how to utilize the benefits of the latest sales technologies to increase your sales. Among the topics we discuss:

  • Why do sales reps still treat their customers like strangers?
  • Is cold calling still a cost-effective way to prospect?
  • How to automate your sales process using the latest sales enablement technologies.
  • Why phone-based, or conversation-based, sales will remain the most effective way to connect with prospect.