[Quora] Why should a startup hire a sales consultant?

Originally seen at: https://www.quora.com/Why-should-a-startup-hire-a-sales-consultant

Startups should hire consultants to complement areas where the team is weak. If the founding team doesn’t have sales experience, it would be wise to leverage a sales consultant or find a strategic advisor with a sales background (preferably someone who’s sold a similar solution). This could save a lot of time and heartache instead of learning by trial and error.

Growth is driven by:

  1. Increasing leads (marketing)
  2. Increasing customers (sales … conversion of leads)
  3. Increasing margin
  4. Increasing frequency of sales (product and/or account management)

My guess is that your current challenge is #1 or #2. Which one or both? If you have had even a few leads, but have failed to convert them, then it is a sales problem. Yes, consider finding a consultant if you’re even pondering. Talk to folks in your network, get advice; it may not even be necessary to hire a consultant. Sometimes a professional that will provide you with proper attention can be worth it, though.

[Quora] I’m 25, bored at my job, and torn between starting a business or travelling. What should I do?

Originally seen at: https://www.quora.com/Im-25-bored-at-my-job-and-torn-between-starting-a-business-or-travelling-What-should-I-do

If your are confident in your abilities, in that you believe you can always get some job to survive, then I would recommend traveling.

You are only young once and those years are precious. I’m turning 40 myself, shortly. I have a wife and 3 kids. I’m not a mega-millionaire, but I’m doing well. I have everything I need and more. One can’t help but look back and think: “If I focused on my career more when I was younger, I’d be so much farther ahead than I am now” or “If I started a successful business earlier, then I’d be able to enjoy my money earlier in life”.

That said, on the whole, I have no regrets at all. I did an exchange program for a year in University. I met an incredible set of friends around the globe that I still keep in touch with. I learned to live on the cheap. I partied hard while my body had the ability to recover more quickly. All these experiences have shaped who I am. The younger you are with the experiences, the more profound they are in your life; think of it as the rooting system.

Having lived through those phases, I can appreciate the subsequent phases in life that much more. I have a wife and kids now; I’m settled and perfectly content. I don’t need to “party” anymore…been there, done that. I don’t need to chase tail anymore…been there, done that. I know what I like, what I want, what I need, and I can better appreciate what I get or have gotten.

I think getting out of your bubble teaches one empathy. Overall, this is better for humanity and society.

Last point, if you are really good, you’ll start to lay the groundwork for your business as you travel. Whether that means blogging you experiences and building a following and/or meeting future business associates/partners and/or generating ideas based on your experiences. There is no reason you couldn’t do both simultaneously.

[Quora] As a recent college grad interviewing at startups, how do I respond when I’m asked for my salary requirements?

[Image above is from https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/loans/student-loans/negotiating-salary-study/]

Originally seen at: https://www.quora.com/As-a-recent-college-grad-interviewing-at-startups-how-do-I-respond-when-Im-asked-for-my-salary-requirements

First question to ask yourself: do I have a salary requirement?

If not, do some homework. If so, do this homework anyway to see if your number is realistic. 😉

Look on Glassdoor or other. Research salaries of roles in like companies in the same geography. Compare those with a little research on LinkedIn to gauge experience of people in those roles at those companies.

As others have suggested, I would always try to get the company to state their number first. Ask: “What is the salary that you have budgeted for this role?”. If they balk, they’re lying (or not serious about the role or not well organized and that is a red flag altogether). You can get them to provide a number by saying something like: “While numbers matter, it’s more about the work, the culture fit, and the opportunity for me that matters. I’ll weigh all of these factors in my decision”

Also, remember salary isn’t everything. But don’t accept anything far below your number. It is okay to sacrifice a small percentage for other factors (benefits, culture, interesting work, stock, etc.). And if you do, always ask for a 6 month review to re-assess.

Good luck!

[Quora] What Does it Take to be a Good Sales Engineer?

Originally see here: https://www.quora.com/What-does-it-take-to-be-a-good-sales-engineer

Don’t settle for good; strive for greatness.

A great SE will have a strong mix of technical prowess, business acumen, salesmanship, communication skills (written and verbal), and (what I’ll call a) likeability factor.

While most SE’s do come from a technical background, I’ve seen great SE’s without this. It depends on the maturity of the product/solution and who the buyers are. Typically, if it is a more mature solution and the buyer is on the business side, then the SE is more of a solution expert and doesn’t need to be “technical” by nature. For earlier-stage solutions or solutions being sold to Technical buyers, then the SE will need the technical skills (coding/scripting) to configure or customize the POC or demo for the target buyer.

A great SE will ask a lot of questions a be a great listener to uncover the business issues and technical challenges that the prospect has. He/she will then translate that and demonstrate (or explain) how the technical features/capabilities of the solution directly address this issues/challenges.

The great SE’s help the prospect visualize themselves using the solution. The SE will convince the buyer that the solution benefits will far outweigh any perceived risk. This is performed by gaining trust, through spending time with prospects and delivery of customized demos/presentations.

Kinetise Looks Really Interesting for Mobile App Development

Just read about these guys. Looks like a startup out of Poland. I haven’t checked out if it actually works. But the message seems like a good one.

I looked into building mobile apps, but I determined that it wasn’t worth the effort for me to learn myself. But mobile developers are expensive. If this can deliver on the promise and actually build high-quality native apps, then that is a great technical solution and many companies with smaller IT budgets can benefit.

If you’ve used their technology, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought about it.


What Will Retail Look Like in 10 Years?

It’s quite obvious that traditional retail, at least in terms of the brick and mortar, is dying. Credit Suisse is projecting over 8k stores will close in 2017, projecting from Q1 numbers.

I went to the mall a couple days ago. That was the first time in (I can’t remember). I went to the Apple store because I had to ask the Geniuses a question.

I don’t like the mall experience. But more so, I feel like mall prices are grossly inflated. I’d say that 95% of my shopping is split between Amazon, Costco, and other local grocery stores. Factor out food and Amazon probably gets ~70-80% of my non-essential purchases. I believe that Jeff Bezos will overtake Bill Gates as the world’s richest person at some point.

Many things are still nicer to touch and feel before purchasing. Even so, how many folks go to a store because to check out a product, only to make the purchase on Amazon? A retailer is paying to be the showroom for Amazon!

A couple big advantages that retailers (brick and mortar) have with their physical presence is the last minute or immediate need, as well as the return/exchange process. Certain categories have higher returns/exchanges, like clothing, for example.

Returning items via an e-commerce purchase is a terrible experience, even if shipping is free. It’s awful. If there is any decent chance for return (doesn’t fit as expected), I am likely not to buy it online.

BUSINESS IDEA: Partner with brands and e-commerce vendors and create a brick and mortar presence to handle returns. This essentially makes it a logistics arbitrage company. It would increase my confidence in purchasing certain things online; that’s good for the brands/vendors. It makes returns cheaper for consumer (not many e-commerce sites pay for return shipping).

At the end of the day, retail isn’t dying, People will always buy things. But brick and mortar needs to evolve. This article, The Death of Retail is Greatly Exaggerated, is right.

How To Simply Your Mindset to Increase Your Sales


I really like this formula that I was introduced to by Ryan Deiss, CEO at DigitalMarketer. I’m a big Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) fan. This really simplifies things and allows a business to create a growth strategy and measure the outcomes.

You can even department-alize this. Leads is Marketing. Customers is Sales. Margin is Operations. Frequency is Product.

Double one factor and that doubles your business, if all other factors stay the same. If each department increases their factor by 20%, that’s a double as well.

He goes on to further discuss a Customer Value Optimization system. Good stuff! I really lik the flow chart. 🙂

Hello world!

So I had this whole elaborate plan to build this site myself, but at the end of the day, with all the functionality that I wanted, it just would’ve taken forever. I kept putting off writing for lack of a canvas.

It got to the point where it was better to just get an MVP out. As they say, you should always be embarrassed about your first release.

I ended up using WordPress since it has a boatload of themes and plugins and online help. I was able to get things up and running relatively quickly.

Here are the other solutions I’ve got hooked up:

As I build thing out and discover new tools/solutions to use, I’ll write about it.

I don’t know where this journey will go, but I’m looking forward to it. If you can learn something as well, so much the better.