AMAs February 17, 2020

I'm Charlie, I've been in B2B SM/E tech sales for nearly a decade. AMA!

Charlie Fox @CharlieFox

I've generated over $247M in pipeline revenue for the likes of Microsoft and Google. I've also been involved with New Logo SMB's such as Kareo ($1M in ARR in the first year)

Recently, I've been a part of the AWS Incubator/ Startup hub in London assisting Founders go-to-market faster for less.

I would love to answer any questions you have. 😊

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    I'm pretty sure in bigger companies like Microsoft and Google leads are probably generated for you. For smaller companies however, is there a process you go through for generating leads for a target audience?

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      This is a great question, and you're right to an extent. Larger organizations will heavily invest in their inbound channel, however, I was not apart of the team that got the luxury of inbound leads. My focus was on the net new business, though I did have the luxury of the brand supporting the call.

      To your question around smaller companies generating leads for a target audience, it entirely depends on your product.

      • If your product costs a lower amount i.e. <$10.00/month or something along those lines, you probably don't want to be focused on pure cold outreach as much because the time it would cost you to identify &qualify in or out would probably not be worth the cost of the customer. You could be spending that time on writing content or growing the organic side of the business. (I'm no marketer but I'm sure there are a lot of tips and tricks you can search for).

      • If your product is of a juicy amount and is in the B2B space I would certainly make sure that you're all over LinkedIn. Social selling has been a hot topic for the past few years, and if you're selling a product tailored for businesses, jump on it.

      My Key process would be something like this: Based on existing engagement identity what does my ideal customer look like then I would Identify champions(the potential users of the actual product), engage with these champions and get them to sell the product internally for you.

      Example: if I'm a wedding ring seller, selling the idea of this expensive wedding ring to the soon to be wife is more powerful than selling it to the would-be husband because the wife has more influence over the husband than I do as a seller.

      I hope this made sense?

      1. 1

        Fantastic! Thanks for the reply!

  2. 1

    Provocative question with a bit of background.

    From what I've seen, external prospecting services often don't work as the in house sales guys don't care enough about them, where I've seen firms keeping it in-house they tend to generate more revenue and their close rates go up compared to being fed external leads/prospects into a pipeline.

    Prospecting is the most hated part of sales yet I keep seeing it being the single most successful point when individuals do it.

    You are offering prospecting as a service, It feels like you are offering to take away the number one skill that in house sales teams and sales managers must be doing, You are also one of many many services to offer it.

    So the loaded question which is gonna make me look like a proper arse:

    Why your firm over the bazillion prospecting services out there, is there any real value in filling the pipeline?

    1. 1

      Breffni, this is a wonderful question, and exactly the kind I was hoping to receive during this AMA. (I don't think it makes you look like an arse, I think you've asked something everyone was thinking about!)

      Prospecting is the most hated part of sales yet I keep seeing it being the single most successful point when individuals do it.

      This is very true. However, it's like most trades and skillsets, I.e. when you decide to renovate a house some may opt-in for the idea of buying paintbrushes and paint and doing it themselves, others may choose to hire a person for a specific task (in this case prospecting). The job gets done at the end of the day, and the results may be identical in the greater scheme of things BUT! The person that hired the outsourced vendor, focused and redecorated another room in the house whilst still maintaining the bigger project.

      Why your firm over the bazillion prospecting services out there, is there any real value in filling the pipeline?

      The why is in the sales pitch I'm about to email you 😉

      Thank you for the question.

  3. 1

    hi @CharlieFox , I'm entertaining the idea of piecing together a SaaS solution for small hardware engineering companies. Likely targeting ~ $X,000 / year , at that price point, from your experience what kind of marketing / advertising works best (or on the flip side, what does not work) ?

    1. 2

      Hi Raul, thank you for your question. It’s an interesting one because I know start ups that spend 60% of their revenue on marketing, and I know others that invest practically nothing.

      (I need to make this clear: I’m not a marketer, being in sales does not make you a marketer. I probably wouldn’t have the insight to give you an overview of what is the best approach to build an online funnel of sorts).

      However, with that being said I think It boils down to how complex the sale of the product is.

      The easiest and certainly one of the most cost effective ways to start drumming up business is that daunting thing called Cold Calling. LinkedIn Is free to set up to find your potential prospects, phone numbers are pretty easy to find.

      If cold calling is not your thing, you could probably use a service like wiza @WizardofGrowth (Hans might set you up with something) to find emails and start an outreach cadence too.

      I hope this helps Raul, again I’m no marketer, and I’m sorry if my response did not hit the nail on the head.

      1. 1

        Appreciate the mention. Would love to guide anyone through setting up a killer cold-email campaign.

        Don't hesitate to get in touch!

  4. 1

    I'm finding the time to close selling a B2B SaaS solution to SMBs takes a long time (months). We've recently tried a one month "Pilot" to try and get some stickiness for the product (where we load up the prospsect's content into our system), they try it out and then we attempt to close, but the process still takes a while. How can we shorten this cycle and close more quickly? Thanks.

    1. 2

      Mark, this is possibly one of my favorite questions so far, thank you.

      The easiest way to answer this, though there are so many contributing factors is to set the tonne of the engagement and ask correct questions from the get-go. If they are still contemplating the product after 30 days, there is a gap in the messaging and perhaps follow up.

      The quick fix would be to hold the prospect accountable by asking questions along the lines of:

      • What's stopping us from closing this right now?
      • Who else needs buy-in from your side to make this happen?

      There is so much more I can add to this, but I might be here all night.

      Do not be scared to hold your prospects accountable, if they are going to be ''tire kickers'' your time is better spent finding another prospect who is not.

      I hope this helped out Mark!

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        To add: Qualifying prospects OUT is just as important as Qualifying IN.

  5. 1

    Hey! Im trying to learn as much as I can about how to sell and all the steps involved.

    Can you recommend a few of the top books you'd recommend to a newbie to get started?
    Also, do you follow any sales people who put out content for learning more about sales and the sales process?

    1. 1

      Thank you for the question, Matthew!

      I'm not much of a book guy (I should probably read a lot more!), with that being said one 2 of my all-time favorites and have helped me in my career: ''How to Win Friends and Influence People'' by Dale Carnegie. I also really enjoyed ''Creativity, Inc.'' by Ed Catmull. I would say those 2 books have helped me over the years.

      John Barrows is possibly my favorite mentor. I had the chance to meet him when he trained Googlers, he also has a book that he co-wrote with his daughter called ''I want to Be in Sales when I Grow Up!''

      Sales is like any skill, it takes time and you'll always be continuously trying to perfect your trade.

      I hope this helps Matthew, and good luck!

      1. 1

        Cheers thanks.
        Any podcasts you'd add to that list?

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          To add: this is possibly one of my favourite videos and is extremely insightful

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elDXo9FSMo0

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          JB has a podcast - https://jbarrows.com/podcast/

          Grant Cardone has a podcast but it's perhaps an acquired taste:
          https://grantcardone.com/podcast

          Keenan is a great mentor too, he's an unfiltered sales guys and says it how it is without the sugar coating: https://www.asalesguy.com/the-word/

          I've possibly got a bunch of others that I listen to on my way to the office, but these 3 are a good start!

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            This is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for. Appreciate it!

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    If you were to start a brand new SaaS today. What would be the first things you would do to start filling up your sales pipeline?

    1. 1

      I love this question. Thank you for asking it. (Assuming this new SaaS product is B2B)

      (I'd probably use a service like The Digital Fox 😄) - shameless self-promotion aside, I would identify 50-100 companies that fit my ideal prospect profile.

      Example: if I have created a recruitment/onboarding software that is designed to help companies efficiently onboard new developers, I would spend my first 2-3 days prospecting exploring platforms like angel.co, LinkedIn, Glassdoor etc.. find 50-100 companies that are actively hiring developers and start mapping out an Account tree. I'd want at least 5 potential contacts at each account.

      These contacts would fall into either the Decision-maker category or the champion/influencer:

      • Decision-maker (i.e. Head of HR)
      • Champion/influencer (i.e. the guy who runs the tech team)

      SMB sales are pretty fast-paced and you can typically get buy-in from 1 person and complete the sale. In Enterprise or SME you want to focus on building contacts and not contracts, it's a longer-term play.

      The greatest asset a new SaaS company has is its ability to stay completely customer-obsessed and move mountains for the new business they onboard.

      I hope that helps Shane! Thank you again for the great question.

  7. 1

    I understand this is perhaps outside your expertise but do you have any advice for someone wanting to start a freelance tech B2B content writing business?

    1. 1

      I would probably engage with brand marketers and see how they started, I know a lot of smaller organizations outsource their content writing.

      Staying up to do with what's hot in the B2B space is crucial. If you're looking for a subject that is extremely hot right now and could potentially jump-start you - learn about RPA: Robotic process automation.

      I hope this small amount sufficed, marketing is not really my forte and I'm only going on what I've seen/read.

      Thank you for the question though!

      1. 1

        Thanks Charlie. Robotic Process Automation.... sounds fascinating. And cutting edge. Will look into it. Thanks a lot.

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          Two brands I know are leading the RPA space: Automation Anywhere and UiPath. Once you've grasped what RPA entails, getting your first set of contracts I'd suggest reaching out to the partners of these brands as they are all competing with each other.

          Good Luck Rugo!

          1. 1

            Oh Charlie, you're a Gem!
            Thank you so much. Any idea on resources that can help me learn about this field quickly? I'm thinking Google?
            I'm so excited!
            Thank you!!!🙏

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                You are AMAZING...otw (off to watch).
                🙏

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              Most things are a google away. Have a look through some webinars too!

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                Thank you so much Charlie. You've made my week.
                I've spent the last 3 weeks trying to find an idea that would fascinate me enough to write about it and just when I was on the edge of both depression and giving up, you showed up.
                Thank you so much.

                1. 1

                  I'm glad I could provide enough to get the fire started again.

                  Please keep in contact, I want to know what you're writing about!

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                    Would love to!
                    Thanks Charlie.

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