Coaching coders on the terms and basics of direct sales

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Information about Coaching coders on the terms and basics of direct sales

Published on February 27, 2014

Author: ab49mobc



Instinctually, we all do sell, in our personal and professional lives. You sold your merits to win your partner, date, or spouse. You sold yourself to get a job.

All members of a technology startup are selling in a way, through hustle, and sheer will.

But sales is a science and an art, and people can be coached. Some are better than others, but at least you should understand the basics, the vocabulary, the process, and what can work.

Coders, in particular, have probably not held a position where they are paid a living wage to find and close deals - i.e., get a customer to pay you money. Coders may have participated in a deal, but it's dramatically different once you're in the game full-time.

This presentation, which I offer as a conference call or in person style, outlines what I learned, as a computer science major and 'coder' before getting into direct sales several years ago.

Even if you do not end up in a sales career, learning the language is helpful, and makes you credible with your management and sales colleagues.

The knowledge can even position you to 'fake it til you make it' and earn a seat at the table, if you choose to switch careers.

Good luck, and good selling.


Selling for Coders by Mark Milligan 1

Mission Teach the basics of Tech Enterprise Sales no question is stupid goal to make you sell ‘smart’ Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 2

About Mark Milligan Digital marketing soft ware seller at IBM 15+ years direct sales experience 6 startups & IBM and Sybase/SAP CS degree / using Rails now From Virginia, moved to ATX August http:/ / Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 3

Topics To Cover Sales Terminology Prospect Pro-gress Close Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 4

Why Sell? Money Flex schedule Meet new people Travel Support / scale your start-up Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 5

Negatives to Selling Get measured - daily Chair kicked, fired Competitive - not a big team sport Emotional / drama Travel Lack of respect Not comfortable Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 6

Terminology Accounts ( Fortune500, Inc. ) Contacts ( Steve Smith, CIO ) Activities ( 4/5/13, Onsite demo ) Opportunities ( $500k, Widget abc, 8/1, 40%, Validated, S. Smith, R. Jones, TCO preso ) Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 7

Accounts The company, government or non-profit you want to buy your product Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 8

Contacts People who are employed by the Account Get their title, email, phone, address Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 9

Activities Events involving your Contacts and Opportunities Email, phone call, conference call, meeting, proposal sent, demo, etc. Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 10

Opportunities The potential revenue from an Account buying your product THE MOST IMPORTANT DATA TO CAPTURE, UPDATE AND REPORT ON Opportunities make up your Pipeline Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 11

Why Opportunities? Lets you, investors measure revenue progress and success Easy, automated way to collect data Reality check versus where you think you should be Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 12

Pipeline All potential opportunities For a given period of time What’s my Q1, 1st Half, Full Year pipeline? Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 13

Forecast Opportunities you think will close For a given period of time What’s my Q1 or 1H forecast? And rank them with probability, or other types like solid, risk, stretch Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 14

Sales Stages Describes how qualified the opportunity is Lets you rank opportunities Shows progress or lack of progress for opportunities No standards for stages ( i.e., don’t get hung up on naming; agree on a few ) Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 15

Tools SaaS-based (, Netsuite ) On-premise soft ware ( Oracle/Siebel, SalesLogix, Goldmine ) The old-fashion way: spreadsheet, or a database Buy a notebook Sign up at Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 16

Prospecting It’s a numbers game - most leads or prospects, won’t lead to a sale ... NOW Warm ( marketing ) and cold ( target accounts ) Multiple attempts and regular Don’t take it personal Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 17

Bad prospects for now Going through re-org, merger New CIO Other project taking priority and resources PUT YOURSELF in their shoes Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 18

Cold - Getting Contacts Conference lists Sign up at Google / LinkedIn searches, by job title, product & account ( VP IT, Hadoop, FortuneABC, Inc. ) Jigsaw, iProfile ( paid access ) Learn email structure ( first initial + last name, first name . last name ) Google HQ switchboard number Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 19

Cold - Contact Methods Email Phone / voice mail Mail ( brochure, t-shirt ) Social media ( LinkedIn ) - be careful Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 20

Pro-gress The deliberate process of moving opportunities down or out of the pipeline/funnel You can’t move a mountain by yourself The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 21

Update v. Pro-gression ‘Waiting on IT Director to commit to nth demo’ v. ‘Invite his worker-bees to a local tech event’ ‘Cold call another LOB contact about same project’ Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 22

Types of Buyers Early Adopter This person sees major competitive advantage in buying a new technology Everyone Else This person sees risk in a new technology; will only buy when other companies have bought the same product. Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 23

Early Adopter Can be a person or an Account If person, often someone w/ a personal agenda - to make a name for themselves Look for articles quoting them or speaking at conferences Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 24

See Mores Contact asks to ‘s ee more’ information about your product Often does not have authority to buy or approve Can be a sign the opportunity is not qualified DO NOT think that helping See Mores is pro-gressing Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 25

Very Important Top Officer (VITO) http:/ / Tony Perinello The top person who can make a decision/approve Keep it simple - they don’t do details or jargon -WHY? Talk business value ‘my soft ware can save FortuneABC $3m / year’ Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 26

People Buy From People They Like Cliche, but true Not just you, your company How to get liked? Have EMPATHY Do what you say Earn trust Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 27

DEMOs ‘They want them’ oh See mores... They do check off a box / don’t close Get something in return ‘We’ll demo if the VP attends’ ‘If demo goes well, will you submit budget request’ USE AS A QUALIFYING EVENT Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 28

Sales Teams Inside Sales Direct Sales Pre-Sales Engineer Post-Sales Support Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 29

Inside Sales http:/ / ! Har vard Business Review on Inside Sales growth Cold call and respond to leads By phone and email If they get a live voice, try and get call / meeting for direct sales rep They fill the pipeline Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 30

Direct Sales You get ‘face-time’ with Accounts and contacts Are tagged with pre-sales technical / product experts Your job is to pro-gress and close opportunities Good direct sellers also PROSPECT Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 31

Pre-Sales Make or break a company Experts on the product Present and demo Do Proof-of-Concepts... Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 32

Proof-of-Concepts Treat them like Demos - only if necessary Get something in return Limit scope - limit even more Necessary if competitive Use as qualifying events Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 33

Partners You get out what you put in Partners sell for sellers they like Empathy Can be icing on the cake Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 34

Compensation Base pay + Variable compensation Types of Comp Plans Target incentive & % of quota Eat what you kill Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 35

% of Quota Quota is $1m revenue Target incentive if quota achieved = $100k Close $500k - rep gets $50k 500/1000=50% x $100k = $50k Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 36

Eat What You Kill Still have quota - to judge you 8% of every closed opportunity ( an example ) Close $500k - rep gets $40k $500k x 8% = $40k Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 37

Closing Convert an opportunity into a signed order and contract Cliche but true - most sellers do not ask for the order Lean In / Pressure - whatever you call it - most times, sellers have to push things along Understand the steps to close Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 38

Example Steps Your formal quote Purchase order ( request ) PO approval Legal reviews/changes your license or usage agreement Point: Your buyer saying ‘Yes’ does not mean ‘Done deal’ anytime soon Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 39

Lingo Goose egg Sand bag What are you calling? Hope is not a strategy Sc$#wed the pooch Punt Copyright 2013-2014 Mark Milligan 40

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