Hey there 👋
I shared this post on LinkedIn this week, which (unexpectedly) resonated with a lot of people.
As someone said in the comments, startup wins are like icebergs: the victory is just the tip, but below that is all the hard work, failures, worries, and sacrifices that got you there. Since we don’t often share that vulnerability with others, it’s left hidden beneath the surface.
We’re all human. We all fail, struggle, doubt ourselves. We all have problems to solve.
In uncertain times, building empathy and trust matters – with your internal team, with your buyers & customers, and with the startup community as a whole.
Sharing and celebrating our wins is great. But if we focus a little bit less on impressing people, and a little bit more on being authentic and lifting each other up, we all win.
People buy from, work with, and support real people! 🙌
PS – tomorrow at 11am Pacific, I’ll be on the Modern Sales Power Hour with Pete Kazanjy. Sign up here to ask about all your tough revenue problems!
In this newsletter:
- How to loop the right stakeholders into your deals
- Why data > intuition (at least in sales!)
- The state of high-performing sales teams in 2022
🤫 The secret to Figma’s sales success? Buyer collaboration!
Figma’s Sr Enterprise Sales Manager, Marissa Fuhrer, had a ton of tactical advice to share in our jam session recently on building a collaborative sales process.
Check out part of the Q&A with Marissa below, and watch the full session here!
How do you approach collaboration & mutual plans with buyers? 🤝
Collaboration is at the core of everything Figma does: their product, their hiring process, their internal work, and their sales process.
But there’s no universal standard for collaboration: everyone wants something different. That’s why when collaborating with your buyers, it’s important to meet them where they are and work to truly understand the problems they’re trying to solve.
Marissa says that to have a collaboration-focused mindset, salespeople need to be:
👂 Empathetic – work to truly understand the problems your buyer is trying to solve
✍ Prescriptive – use mutual plans to get buy-in on what you’re trying to accomplish together
🗺 An advisor and guide – help your buyer through the journey to their desired end state
Ask thoughtful questions to understand your buyers’ problems and the outcome they want to achieve, and create a plan for getting there together. That’s how you build credibility and trust.
How do you get ahead of surprises in the buying process? 😳
It’s your job to understand your customer’s buying process and requirements. If you find that you’re misaligned or don’t know something, it’s fair to slow down in order to speed up.
Ask your buyer to help you map out their process and requirements, and be honest about what you don’t know. It shows that you’re focused on the customer.
For a large or complex org, you need a stakeholder who has bought software there before. If your champion hasn’t, ask them to help you elevate the conversation and loop in someone who’s familiar with their buying process.
Make sure you set expectations around this early in the process with your champion. Approach it as “How can I support you in making this business case?” to help them sell internally.
📊 Data-based decisions > intuition-based decisions
Don’t argue with data.
We’re often told to trust our gut when making decisions (and sometimes that’s a good thing!) But you shouldn’t rely on intuition alone when making big changes to your sales process.
Case in point 👇
Christian Borrelli, VP of Global Sales at CaptivateIQ, told us on the podcast recently that he managed a rep with a completely different selling style than the rest of his team.
Christian’s instinct was that their style wouldn’t be successful, but he decided to wait it out.
Within six months, the rep had the highest win rate on the team. 🏆
Everyone has an opinion about the way things should be done, but only data can tell you the truth.
The takeaway? Question your assumptions, track and test everything you can, and let the data guide you when iterating on your process. 💥
📚 What we’re reading
Our friends at Hypercontext shared data from sales teams in tech, including motivations, productivity, retention, and management challenges & strategies.
Check it out to make sure you’re staying on top of building & retaining a high-performing team this year (and see if you can find the quote from yours truly!)
Several people have recommended this book to me recently, including Zeni CEO & Founder Swapnil Shinde. It dives into how to nail your product positioning – the foundation of everything we do in sales & marketing.
Thanks for reading From Vendorship → Partnership! 👋 Have any feedback on this newsletter? Hit reply and let me know!
Ross Rich (CEO and Co-founder)
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