My business is growing rapidly. Our software is becoming pretty well-known in the industry now and we’ve doubled our staff. I knew that if I wanted to play a bigger role, I would have to educate myself on all things business. I’ve read numerous books on sales, marketing, business, management, etc. It’s paid off immensely and since the company is expanding and focusing its efforts, I’ve proven myself to be capable in every aspect of the business. Over the next year I will be transitioning into director of operations and completely take over product management. My programming days are numbered (I still write software on the side though).
I’m also finishing up my masters degree. Just have to write a paper and finish up some projects and I’m all set.
This takes me to my book review on Predictable Revenue. It’s an interesting book written by the director of sales at Salesforce.com. The process is quite different from the Sandler method that I was taught at work. There are few things I like about Predictable Revenue and a few things I prefer Sandler for.
Predictable Revenue advocates the creation of a well-oiled machine. You have different “squads” that are responsible for various parts of the business and I thought this was a great idea. It’s actually how many of the large tech companies operate. Anyway, the account executives focus entirely on closing sales while they have dedicated people to scheduling appointments. Then they take it a step further and have staff just dedicated to research.
First, the bad: There is something that just irks me the wrong way about how this is accomplished in reality. Companies like the Advisory Board or CEB use these methods and are absolutely hated in the industry. If you work in the industry and you get a call from them, you rage out instantly (I have friends who have worked for both). It’s just so “sales”-ey if you get my drift. Someone calls you just to see if you’re a qualified lead — and then pawns you off to the closer for a second appointment. Sandler is the opposite of this, where they insist that you maintain contact with the same person all the way through. I prefer the Sandler method here because it seems more human-like. And after reading countless books and material about the human psyche, social interaction, and picking up girls…Sandler just seems more natural and welcoming.
The good: The idea that someone is dedicated to research. I like this and we have implemented this at my work place. The sales guys do sales, but most of the emails and research on who would quite possibly be interested in our product is done by a dedicated person. It’s hard to switch mindsets — going from doing research to a sales call, back to research, etc.
So at work, we kind of have a hybrid of the two systems and it’s working great. If you’re an entrepreneur or just want to know how sales work, pick up those books and see how you might apply them to your business.