Posts

The Offical Rainmakers 2018 Dreamforce Party Guide

Dreamforce 2018 is right around the corner! I hope that everyone has their pitches rehearsed and their business card ready. Networking is an important piece of running your booth, but don’t forget that the networking doesn’t end when you leave Moscone. You can’t forget the parties, and who has time to research all of them? Don’t worry – Rainmakers has created a 2018 Dreamforce Party Guide, sorted by date, so you can plan accordingly. Register soon before all of your favorite events are filled.

Featured Event

Modern Sales Pros and Modern SaaS – 2018 Dreamforce Happy Hour

Rainmakers is excited to sponsor the 2018 MSP Happy Hour.  This is not an event to miss. The demand has been so great, that the party has been expanded to a block party including three bars and a restaurant.  In addition to being to being a general sponsor, Rainmakers is taking over Iza Ramen and hosting Rainmakers Ramen – A night of networking and noodles (and Saki, beer and wine) on us!  You won’t want to miss this.

Hosted/Sponsored By:  Modern Sales Pro, Modern SaaS, Bravado, Chili Piper, ChorUS, DiscoverOrg, DocSend, GrowLabs, Guru, Rainmakers, SalesLoft, Skaled, and Troops.

Summary:  The MSP happy hour is happening again so that MSP and Modern SaaS members from around the country can meet and greet in person.

When:  Tuesday, September 25th, 2018  5:30pm-9:30pm

Where:  Raven Bar & BloodHound – 1151 Folsom Street

Sign Up Here

Also, our COO, Michael Theron, is being featured at the Sales Hacker Leadership Lounge, speaking on a panel How to Scale a Successful Sales Team. Breakfast will be served.

All Events

Monday – September 24th, 2018

Power Up for Dreamforce Party

Hosted/Sponsored By:  Simplus

Summary: Power up for Dreamforce with food, drinks, vintage arcade games, and giveaways.

When:  Monday, September 24th, 2018  7:00pm-11:00pm

Where:  The Dirty Habit at Hotel Zelos  12 4th Street

Sign Up Here

PepUp Tech Karaoke for a Cause

Hosted/Sponsored By:  PepUp Tech

Summary: PepUp Tech’s Karaoke for a Cause.  Karaoke with donations going to support a lot of great causes,

When:  Monday, September 24th 7:30pm

Where:  Pandora Karaoke  177 Eddy Street

Sign Up  Here – Tickets are $30

Tuesday – September 25th, 2018

WalkMe DreamForce Party

Hosted/Sponsored By: WalkMe, DialSource, TimeTrade, RFPio

Summary:  Not only is this he event a great opportunity to relax and “let-loose” after Day 1 of the conference, the WalkMe Dreamforce Party brings together top influencers — across every industry representing several hundred organizations — in a casual and professional environment for establishing valuable connections.

When: September 25th, 8pm

Where:  Terra Gallery – 511 Harrison Street

Sign Up Here

Modern Sales Pros and Modern SaaS – 2018 Dreamforce Happy Hour

Hosted/Sponsored By:  Modern Sales Pro, Modern SaaS, Bravado, Chili Piper, ChorUS, DiscoverOrg, DocSend, GrowLabs, Guru, Rainmakers, SalesLoft, Skaled, and Troops.

Summary:  The MSP happy hour is happening again so that MSP and Modern SaaS members from around the country can meet and greet in person.

When:  Tuesday, September 25th, 2018  5:30pm-9:30pm

Where:  Raven Bar & BloodHound – 1151 Folsom Street

Sign Up Here

DemandBase After-party at Temple

Hosted/Sponsored By: DemandBase, Salesforce Pardot, Engagio, Certain

Summary: Join Demandbase and fellow B2B marketers at the iconic Temple Nightclub. Dance the night away in the fully immersive state of the art LED lighting nightclub with world-class sound system. There’ll be live DJs, drinks, food and plenty of dancing!

When:  Tuesday, September 25th, 2018  9:00pm – 12:00am

Where:  Temple Nightclub – 540 Howard Street

Sign Up Here

The Dreamforce Premier Silent Disco!

Hosted/Sponsored By:  Conga

Summary:  Located just across the street from Moscone at the ThirstyBear Brewing Company. Conga brought you the original silent disco of Dreamforce, and this year they’re outdoing themselves! With three DJs and an open bar, come ready to party and unwind from your first full day of Dreamforce.

When:  Tuesday, September 25th, 2018  7:00pm – LATE!

Where:  ThirstyBear Brewing Company  661 Howard Street

Sign Up Here

#DF2018 Taco Tuesday

Sponsored/Hosted By: DIA

Summary:  Come and join us for “Muchos Tacos” on Dreamforce Tuesday evening, help support a great cause and bathe in the #Ohana Spirit as you find the groove of your 2018 Dreamforce experience. You don’t have to speak Spanish to attend… just bring a hefty appetite for tasty Tacos. Anyone attending Dreamforce is welcome!  Your $40 ticket gets you a Taco Fiesta which lets you build your own Tacos from a variety of choice ingredients such as soft corn & flour tortillas, choice of 2 types of meat, black & pinto beans, with a variety of salsas, cheese, onions, cilantro, lettuce, limes, guacamole and sour cream. Mmmmm has my mouth watering now!

When:  Tuesday, September 25th, 2018  7:00pm-11:00pm

Where:  Nick’s Crispy Tacos and Rogue Lounge  1500 Broadway at Polk St.

Sign Up Here – Tickets $33

**DF2018 Badge needed for entry.  All proceeds will be donated to Mission 22

Salesforce North Party @ Dreamforce

Hosted/Sponsored By:  Salesforce

Summary:  We have the pleasure of inviting to a North Europe party – San Francisco style!  The concept: Connect with your fellow Trailblazers: Mingle with all kinds of Trailblazers from the BeNeLux and Nordic regions.  Taste of San Francisco: Food stations from different parts of the city; like the Castro, Chinatown, the Mission and North Beach. Dance to top DJs: Dive into the night – streets of San Francisco style!

When:  Tuesday September 25th, 2018  6:30pm – 10:30pm

Where:  The Mezzanine  444 Jessie Street

Sign Up Here

BlueSkies

Hosted/Sponsored By:  Bluewolf, an IBM Company.

Summary:  Join IBM and Bluewolf for our exclusive BlueSkies celebration above the fog at a historic location. Enjoy an evening of networking complete with mixologists serving up curated cocktails, and a live band.

When:  Tuesday, September 25th, 2018  7:00pm – LATE

Where:  Location revealed via invite – exclusive!

Sign Up/Request Invite Here

Linkedin- Get Closer to Greatness

Hosted/Sponsored By:  Linkedin

Summary:  An evening gathering the world’s top innovators, leaders, and influencers in sales for an evening you won’t want to miss. In San Francisco for Dreamforce? We’ve got you covered.  

When:  Tuesday, September 25th, 2018  8:00pm – 11:00pm

Where:  Linkedin- 222 2nd St.

Sign Up/Request Invite Here

Wednesday –  September 26th, 201

SalesLoft Celebrate

Sponsored/Hosted By: SalesLoft, EverString, Intercom, Terminus, LeanData, Sendoso, Modern Sales Pros, and Videolicious.

Summary: Celebrate crushing your quota. Celebrate your recent promotion. Celebrate your bluebird deal.  Celebrate nailing your pitch. Celebrate making President’s Club. Join SalesLoft as they celebrate YOU at Dreamforce this year.

When:  Wednesday, September 26th, 2018  10:00pm- 2:00am

Where:  Temple Nightclub  540 Howard Street

Sign Up Here

Cocktails, Conversations, and Conversions

Sponsored/Hosted By:  DiscoverOrg, Marketo, Gong

Summary:  Come network with marketing and sales leaders on Thursday night while enjoying free drinks & apps – discuss some of your favorite sessions from the event and other tips & tricks you use to get ahead of the game!

When:  Thursday, September 27, 2018  6:00pm-8:30pm

Where:  Bar 888 – 888 Howard Street

Sign Up Here

Science Fair Happy Hour

Sponsored/Hosted By:  Ambition, Gong, and LearnCore

Summary:  Join Ambition, Gong, and LearnCore for complimentary drinks and bar bites, just steps away from Moscone in the beautiful Intercontinental Living Room bar area. We’ll be cooking up formulas for successful sales, mixing cocktail elements, and testing out some new games.

When:  Wednesday, September 26, 2018  4:00pm – 7:00pm

Where:  InterContinental SF – 888 Howard Street

Sign Up Here

The Concert for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals Featuring Metallica!

Hosted/Sponsored By: Salesforce.org, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals

Summary:  A benefit concert featuring Metallica and MC Hammer.

When:  September 26, 2018

  • 6:00pm Cocktails
  • 8:00pm Concert
  • 10:00pm After party

Where:  City Hall and Civic Center Plaza  335 McAllister St.

Sign Up Here

NewVoiceMedia Oktoberfest!

Hosted/Sponsored By:  NewVoiceMedia

Summary:  Join NewVoiceMedia for Beer, Bratwurst and more beer. They will be bringing the traditional Oktoberfest celebration to you at Dreamforce. Grab your stein and join them for the best party at Dreamforce.  This party always fills up so register ASAP to ensure you and your lederhosen get on the list.

When:  Wednesday, September 26th, 2018  5:00pm – 8:00pm

Where:  Tehama Grasshopper  431 Tehama Street

Sign up Here

Thursday – September 27, 2018

Sales Enablement Soiree

Hosted/Sponsored By:  Forrester, Salesforce, SiriusDecisions

Summary:  The Sales Enablement Soiree is the only networking event exclusively for Sales Enablement at Dreamforce.

When:  Thursday, September 27, 2018  9:00am-5:00pm

Where:  Four Season, 757 Market Street

Sign Up Here

Cocktails, Conversations, and Conversions

Sponsored/Hosted By:  DiscoverOrg, Marketo, Gong

Summary:  Come network with marketing and sales leaders on Thursday night while enjoying free drinks & apps – discuss some of your favorite sessions from the event and other tips & tricks you use to get ahead of the game!

When:  Thursday, September 27, 2018  6:00pm-8:30pm

Where:  Bar 888 – 888 Howard Street

Sign Up Here

The Engagement Party

Sponsored/Hosted By:  Idealist Consulting, Dig, iATS Payments, KnowWho, Mogli, FormAssembly, Rallybound.

Summary:  The biggest party of the year for nonprofits & progressives.

When:  Thursday, September 27th, 2018  9:00pm – LATE!

Where:  The Monarch  101 6th Street

Sign Up Here

MapAnything After Hours

Sponsored/Hosted By:  MapAnything, Simplus, Natterbox, Own, LinkPoint360

Summary:  A night of mind-blowing diversions & hypnotic sounds await you at San Francisco’s hottest nightlife destination, Temple Night Club. You won’t want to miss the diverse and soulful mixes created by California native, DJ Malachi.   Sip on your elixir of choice at their open premium bar, accompanied by an assortment of delectable hors d’oeuvres while you let the mystery of the evening engulf you. The line-up of unexpected & entrancing entertainment acts, every hour, on the hour will leave you wanting more.

When:  Thursday, September 27th  9:00pm – 2:00am

Where:  Temple Nightclub  540 Howard Street

Sign Up Here

Limitless Party

Sponsored/Hosted By:  FinancialForce

Summary:  Located between Moscone Conference Center and your hotel room, our VIPCentral will be hosting the party of the year! Expect some seriously good food, killer music, cool entertainment, and crafty cocktails. Whether you want to get your groove on or do some networking in style this party will deliver.

When:  Thursday, September 27th, 2018  7:00PM – 10:00PM

Where:  Fogo de Chao  201 3rd Street

Sign Up Here

attracting talent to your company

Why Does Your Startup Keep Attracting The WORST Sales Applicants?

Having trouble attracting talent to your company, particularly in the sales department? You’re not alone. Finding top sales talent is a major pain for startups and larger companies alike, especially in 2018.

Without the right people to ideate, build, and sell your product, profit will be less than optimal. In fact, superior talent is up to eight times (800%) more productive than average performers, according to a comprehensive research cited by McKinsey.

relationship between talent and business productivity

That is why the most valuable and successful organizations fiercely compete against each other in a relentless War for Talent just to find, hire, and retain elite professionals. Even then, 82% of Fortune 500 companies still believe they are not successful at hiring highly skilled people, and only two out of ten HR leaders from these big players think their recruitment and retention strategies actually work as planned.

Finding, attracting, and keeping such high performers on your roster will likely be a moonshot, especially if you’re running a fresh startup with bootstrapped resources. In contrast, the likelihood of attracting mediocre, unreliable, and crappy job applicants claiming to be competent sales professionals can go off the scales.

You wouldn’t want to waste time, money, and energy on these shenanigans but if you are sending the wrong signals, hordes of these unwanted sales candidates can swarm your recruitment process like a plague. So make an honest assessment of your brand messagingtalent culture, and recruitment journey. It might be that you are inadvertently drawing the wrong types of talent (e.g., good at making excuses, excellent at being mediocre, highly skilled in job hopping) under your banner.

7 Reasons Why Startups Are Not Attracting Talent (Especially in Tech Sales):

  1. You’re looking for sales talent in the wrong places.
  2. You’re using outdated recruitment practices.
  3. You project a corporate brand that lacks excitement.
  4. Your job ads are horrendous.
  5. Your comp plans do not give reps enough incentive.
  6. You convey a boring, tedious workplace reinforced by a gloomier career path.
  7. You provide a poor recruitment experience for applicants.

1) You’re looking for sales talent in the wrong places.

The job market is in flux. Not only are skills and talent in dire shortage but workplace demographic is also shifting. Baby boomers are retiring in droves while millennials and younger generations are steadily taking over the reins. Moreover, competent sales practitioners are often busy doing what they’re good at — which means they are closing deals or successfully building rapport with clients and not actively looking for jobs. You won’t reach them through traditional job boards or online postings. If you stick with traditional ways employers search for candidates, you’ll be left with the dregs of the job market.

TIP: Establish your company’s ideal sales candidate personas. Study the behavior of these personas and understand where you might reach potential candidates and how best to catch their attention. Use indirect but powerful messaging on social media channels (such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn), during industry events and conferences, and on specialist sites that provide content, training, and other resources for sales professionals.

2) You’re using outdated recruitment practices.

Process is key to efficiency but only when it evolves with emerging market realities. If you were to rely on snail-mailed resumes or on posting job ads on the Sunday paper for example, your competitors would have already on-boarded a few good candidates well before you can set a job interview with the sub-par applicants they’ve already rejected. Implementing a one-size-fits-all recruitment strategy would also short-change your team, especially when you deploy specialized roles in your sales organization.

TIP: The world has gone digital and you’ll lose out if don’t have a catchy, upbeat presence in online job boards and other channels. But even that is just the bare minimum. As mentioned previously, don’t rely solely on conventional postings. There are other tools such as applicant tracking systems (ATS) and cloud-based talent management platforms that you should try out. Build a virtual talent pool on social media channels by publishing thought leadership articles that are relevant to sales practitioners.

3) You project a corporate brand that flat out lacks excitement.

The moment you accept that your niche is unsexy is the moment you doom your team to a mindset of irrelevance. Your brand matters. If you go far afield with a brand and a disposition that shouts “boring,” you’ll repel excellent sales professionals who demand the best from employers in exchange for delivering outstanding performance. These elite sellers simply won’t settle for a timid, lackluster brand that doesn’t seem to care about the people behind it.

TIP: Millennials and younger generations place a high premium on “experience” and online reputation. Your corporate culture and “employer rating” will be at least as important to this subset of professionals as the compensation package you’ll offer them. The first step is to establish an open environment that values people and provides systemic support for their career, health, and happiness. Doing this equips HR or a public relations team with solid authenticity to present a workplace culture worth thriving in. Aim for audience mindshare by which your company comes top-of-mind each time an excellent sales practitioner begins looking for a new employer.

4) Your job ads are horrendous.

Your job posts says a lot about how much you value the role you are advertising for. Avoid using run-of-the-mill templates that don’t differentiate your brand, your needs, and the benefits you offer from those of other recruiters. Ambiguity, long-windedness, ridiculously high qualifications, triteness, grammatical errors, excessively formal tone, and disproportionate focus on the company can dissuade job seekers from further considering your post.

TIP: Be accurate, error-free, and upbeat when creating the copy for your job posts. Focus on what the job entails but fine-tune the message along the vantage point and emotional lens of a job seeker. Clarify both the requirements and the benefits. Don’t use a copy that sounds too formal or demanding. That will just scare half of the job market. But don’t make it sound too easy either because that turns off achievers looking for challenging roles.

5) Your compensation plans do not give reps enough incentive.

This is where the rubber hits the road. Most professionals place compensation near the top of their priorities and any recruiter playing scrooge on compensation risks discouraging good sales candidates from applying. Worse than scrimping is creating the impression that you are offering generous packages but can actually deliver a much smaller paycheck. Doing so causes major candidate frustration when they realize the truth and tarnishes your reputation down the road.

TIP: Be honest when it comes to compensation. If you offer above-market rates, it’s better to mention the package in your post to draw more applicants. Otherwise, hold off disclosing your hand and focus instead on non-monetary benefits such as free training, flexible schedule, and other perks you do offer. The bottomline is to persuade excellent candidates that your company is worth working for without resorting to dirty tricks.

6) You convey a boring, tedious workplace reinforced by a gloomier career path.

Compensation is a major part of the employment agreement but it is not everything. If your organization seems peculiarly like the company parodied in Dilbert and other satirical comic strips/television series, then you have a lot of house-cleaning to do. Tedious labor without the possibility of achieving a healthy work-life balance or getting sensible promotions drains motivation and productivity like a leaky faucet.

TIP: Make working with you both fun and fulfilling. Whenever applicable, send a clear message that salespeople are valued in your organization. Highlight advantages such as company-subsidized professional development programs, travel incentives, generous commissions, job meaning and impact, as well as clear career paths and growth avenues for sellers. If these are still in the wish list, think of other tangible ways you can make your company worth working for.

7) You provide a poor recruitment experience for applicants.

Your hiring process serves as a window to the actual day-to-day conditions in your workplace. A poor experience for applicants during this process portends a poor experience working for your company. If your recruitment process seems disorganized, unnecessarily takes a lot of time, and feels too convoluted, applicants will easily lose the appetite to see the whole thing through.

TIP: Create a clear and effective recruitment plan. Map out each step and set expectations at the onset of the hiring process so candidates are always clear and updated about their application status at any point in the process. Streamline interview questions and bridge any gap in communication across the engagement.

Key Takeaway: Good recruiters attract good candidates

You need competent salespeople to grow your startup. But they are hard to find and rarely come cheap. For highly skilled and motivated sellers to join your team, you have to do your part as a responsible employer that values its people. And it all starts with the applicant journey as sales candidates go through the stages of your recruitment process. To hire the best people, offer the best value you can.

trade show tips for exhibitors and vendor booths at conferences

Conference Booth Networking For Vendors: How To Standout From The Sea Of Other Booths

You’ve seen it time and time again at conference after conference. The glorious expo hall aka sea of SaaS vendor booths. Some are crushing, while others are sitting around wishing they had more people stopping by for demos and chatter. In this guide, we’ll break down how to stand out from the noise and get some real achievable ROI for your company’s booth investment.

If you’re curious, check out how Rainmakers did this at Sales Hacker’s Revenue Summit. (We kicked ass!)

Conferences growing in importance within the business landscape both in helping companies grow their brand awareness and in engaging with prospects. As such a growing number of leaders in marketing are investing in booths and sponsorships for the various conferences relevant to their particular business and industry.

Once such an investment has been made, it’s imperative that the booth be properly staffed at all times and the team has a cohesive strategy on how to engage with attendees such that the company will be able to achieve the greatest possible ROI for that conference. To do so however is not so straight forward and can actually be quite challenging since there are often so many other vendors prying for the attention of the same prospective buyers.

Therefore if you’ve been tapped on as one of the trusted agents of your enterprise to go to such a conference as the ambassador of your company, what are some ways you can stand out from the crowd and make the most of your time there? That’s exactly what we’re here to discuss.

Here are some best practices you can follow to maximize your chances of developing a positive relationship with a conference attendee and ultimately growing your company’s pipeline, which is what your executive team will expect from such an investment.

1) Smile

Think about it. Who would ever want to approach someone at a booth with an unpleasant frown on their face? If it’s abhorrently obvious to others that the staffer doesn’t want to be there, they can safely assume their conversation with that individual will be lackluster at best.

The power of the smile, especially at conferences, cannot be understated. Smiles are contagious and have the power to attract others. Smiling is also a signal to others that they are welcome to come and speak to you. It may seem like body language basics, but it really works!

Best of all, it allows for the interaction to get a kick start on the right note given that a smile will often be reciprocated leaving your conversational counterpart to think subconsciously the interaction is going well. Of course, the rest of your conversation must continue to engage and excite the prospect but this is definitely a great way to get the ball rolling.

2) Act as a guide

This might be the best networking tip of them all.

Though you are not an employee of the conference it may behoove you to try and match the knowledge of their staff. Reason being, if you’re able to have a solid understanding of locations and schedules you can act as a guide for those attending the conference. At the very least we would advise you try and obtain a map or schedule of the conference that you can reference for this purpose.

This can be a fantastic ice breaker to start a conversation and will create an opportunity for an immediately positive interaction since you’re offering assistance. If you see someone with a lost look on their face while you’re staffing your booth you can immediately walk forward with confidence and ask if there’s anything you can do to assist them.

Once you’ve been able to help that individual you can parlay the conversation in such a way that you relate things back to your company’s product or services. It’s highly possible that individual could be a prospective buyer or know someone who might be.

Another possibility though is that the individual may be late to a session and speed off quickly after your little interaction but don’t worry as your show of good will won’t be for naught. There’s still the possibility that you may run into that individual again later in the conference and now that an acquaintanceship has been established it should be much easier to approach the individual later. Just don’t let them leave without taking your business card which is actually a perfect segue for our next point.

3) Bring business cards and company swag

It’s safe to say that a booth without swag is at a great disadvantage at these conferences. Though it may seem a bit materialistic, many conference attendees will feel inclined to engage with staffers at booths just to get some free swag.

Though the seemingly frivolous distribution of items will often not lead to a lot closed business it can do a great deal for a company in terms of brand awareness. This is even truer the more unique that particular giveaway item is.

For example, during one particular conference I had attended previously in the security space we gave away branded fidget spinners as swag. In following up with one of our target prospects, he informed me that the timing for our services wasn’t quite right but that we’d be the first vendor he would call should circumstances change because he found our swag particularly unique. He had always wanted to get a fidget spinner as an office toy but didn’t want to go out of his way to buy one himself.

I’ve also seen this in action first hand. Sumologic must have at one point distributed stress ball designed to look like a cartoon sumo character because we had quite a few lying around our offices. During one of our happy hours a colleague happened to cap his beer glass with this sumo character which sparked a conversation about the hilarity of the item. What followed suit was a further discussion about the company and their on-going business.

The need for business cards should go without saying as it’s such standard practice people will almost expect to be handed a business card at a conference. They won’t even bat an eye as to why it’s being given to them and it only benefits you as a vendor to hand them out. The more items prospects have to remember you by, the more likely you’ll be first to come to mind as a solution for a relevant problem in the future.

4) Add people on LinkedIn

Whenever you interact with someone at a conference, it would be wise to add them on LinkedIn.  As mentioned earlier, the more items someone has to remember you by the more likely you’ll be one to come to mind. This carries true in the digital realm as well.

If they are a prospective buyer it will allow you to more easily keep in touch. Even if they’re not there’s a chance that someone in their network may be and so the next time you publish content, it only increases the chances it reaches the right people in your space.

You can of course also try and connect with these individuals on other forms of social media as well such as Twitter and the like, but more often than not people view other platforms as a hub for their personal connections not professional. Unless you were able to really connect with that individual on a personal level, it may seem out of place to try and connect with them on any other platform. As such we recommend for the most part you stick with LinkedIn.

5) Ask about others first

Creating a memorable interaction can be very difficult at conferences given the sheer volume of interactions attendees will have throughout. One way you can give yourself an edge in trying to stand out though is to first ask about others. It also works great as an ice-breaker since people often enjoy talking about themselves.

A lot of the other staffers, especially the more inexperienced ones, will often start a conversation with prospects jumping straight into who they are and what their company can offer knowing very little about the person their talking to. Just like on a cold call, it’s hard to find value propositions around your product or services that a prospect can relate to unless you have an understanding of their role and responsibilities.

Therefore you should use this as an opportunity to do a little bit of discovery. It will help make transitioning the conversation to your company much easier and much more relatable. Even more, since humans are naturally bound by the law of reciprocity chances are you won’t even have to segue the conversation yourself. Since you have gone out of your way to ask about the person you’re speaking to, that individual will likely in turn ask you the same which would be your cue to take the knowledge you just gathered and pitch your product or services in a manner that would be most relevant.

Conferences can be a hectic time for many with so many things going on at any given time, but ultimately the goal for any organization in making the investment to attend or sponsor these events is to get in front of the right people and grow their business.

Hopefully these tips can help you stand out from the crowd and do just that. Now go out there and as always, make it rain!

never hire bad salesperson again

10 Critical Warning Signs of a Bad Sales Candidate

The cost of a hiring a bad sales candidate can be extremely painful. In this article, we’ll explain how to avoid that.

Having a full roster is the standard to aim for but that doesn’t guarantee you’re getting an optimal salesforce. The truth is, new sales hires can either make or break your team performance. Good hires certainly will help you sustain growth and even improve overall performance down the road, but onboarding bad candidates can cause problems much worse than a simple headache.

In any type of business organization, the process of recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and training job candidates entails substantial costs in time, money, and effort. A recent CareerBuilder survey estimates that the average cost of one bad hire in the U.S. clocks in at $15,000. That barely includes serious business impacts such as reduced productivity, lost time to hire and train more deserving candidates, tarnished output quality (your brand!), and spikes in customer attrition rate.

Bad hires — especially those with harmful emotional baggage — can also cause team morale to plummet, which in turn can significantly undercut the team’s ability to maintain standards, comply with timelines, and achieve goals. Finally, bad hires rarely stay put, forcing you to go through the recruitment cycle again (sigh) and spend even more precious resources in the process.

In the case of a sales organization, hiring bad candidates have a direct impact on revenues and your bottom line. Surely, you wouldn’t want anything to mess up those figures. Unfortunately, bad sales hires come and go more often than anyone expects. That’s because of several factors inherent in sales recruitment:

  1. Most people think sales is easy. Desperate job seekers would try their luck applying for a sales opening even if they prefer another role.
  2. Selling is not for everyone. A successful sales career requires unique combinations of skills, experience, personality, and mindset.
  3. Sales-related certifications exist but these are rare and are seldom industry-mandated or required as qualifications in job ads.

Given this scenario, sales recruiters need to have the right tools and awareness that will help them prevent mediocre candidates from ever getting a foothold. Detecting red flags well before handing out a job offer is a good place to start.

To help you do that, here are some of the most common telltale signs of a bad sales candidate:

1) Low interest, enthusiasm, or motivation.

An applicant who doesn’t demonstrate enthusiasm about the role she is aiming for may show the same disinterest when actually making pitches on the sales floor. It is possible that your initial impression is inaccurate or that the applicant is only momentarily unmotivated, but even minor optics and small lapses can become real disadvantages later on. As a sales recruiter, you’ll always want (visibly and genuinely) passionate, driven professionals on board.

2) Hates doing homework.

Did the candidate research about your company, services, and key movers before sending his application or attending an interview? If not, ignore the fool. If a candidate chooses not to spend time preparing, then he is not worth your time. After all, selling success primarily depends on how prepared you are when engaging prospects. Only sales professionals willing to do their homework can dare hope to achieve targets.

3) Lacks basic sales competency.

Selling techniques and advanced methodologies can be learned. But don’t settle for candidates who lack even the rudimentary skill to sell themselves — especially when better candidates are around. If a candidate can’t formulate a decent elevator speech to get themselves noticed, then hiring one will short-change your team.

Moreover, avoid candidates who can’t seem to listen and those who ask senseless questions. Blacklist anyone who don’t ask any question at all. Selling is a conversation and active listening and asking the right questions are key to successful customer engagement.

4) Unprofessional behavior.

Excessive spelling/grammatical errors, sharing sensitive information about former employers, immature mannerisms, disturbing posts on social media, coarse/impolite language, and dressing way off the norm are some signs of unprofessional behavior. You’re not running a police state and you have a reasonable tolerance for deviant behavior but there’s a limit to what a competent sales organization can take. Sales is methodical and adheres to norms and best practices especially in the B2B space. Going well beyond acceptable thresholds will cause unwanted impact on your brand or performance.

5) Bad punctuality and time management.

Managing time and respecting other people’s schedule may seem so old school but punctuality remains high on the list of critical selling skills. You will always want sales professionals who meet timelines and rarely need to cram at the very last leg of the quarter to meet quotas.

Showing up late during client engagements shows that you lack motivation and respect for other people’s time. Few customers will be willing to wait for perennially delayed demos when a rival vendor can deliver the goods immediately. After all, the digital economy unfolds in an age of instant gratification.

6) Excessive job hopping.

Frequently switching roles or employers shows that a candidate is struggling to follow a coherent and focused career track. Think twice before investing time and money to hire and train this type of applicant. Note that the costs of hiring and losing workers are becoming prohibitive in highly competitive markets like B2B tech sales. In addition, frequent job hopping may also be a sign of personality flaws in the candidate that you wouldn’t want to deal with as a sales leader.

7) Underperforming career track.

On the other hand, you also need to flag candidates who have more or less held the same role and pay grade in the same company for many years. If a professional seems to struggle to get a promotion for a long time and still choose to stay, then something is very wrong. You would want highly driven sales professionals who care about their career advancement and who possess reasonable levels of ambition.

8) Lies during the interview.

If a sales candidate’s online profile or submitted resume seems too good to be true, perform due diligence. You want excellent and highly motivated sellers on your team but you want the real deal, not counterfeit con artists. It is understandable that people would want to show you their best foot forward but excessive self-promotion to the point of misleading and lying to recruiters is a glaring red flag.

Validate claimed certifications, degrees, and sales achievements, especially when these are accompanied by dollar signs and other verifiable metrics. Lying about relevant experiences even in minor aspects such as the number of months an applicant worked in a certain company is a big deal for companies with high ethical standards. Remember, trust is the most valuable currency in sales.

9) High levels of negativity and vibes of disgruntlement.

Happy, well-balanced, and passionate people are what you need for your salesforce. Your door should be locked shut for candidates who demonstrate toxic levels of negativity and emotional baggage even at the onset. Applicants who regularly bad-mouth former employers and co-workers shouldn’t find a way to join your team. Candidates who think they are always the best, show excessive aggression, and take credit even for achievements for which they have minimal contributions should be shown the nearest exit. Finally, habitual complainers and whiners won’t thrive in sales — a world where getting rejected multiple times is just part of the daily grind.

10) Lack of legitimate references.

You want candidates who are proud of their professional or academic achievements and who can readily have someone authorized to verify their credentials. In some cases, the standard practice is to provide character or professional references only upon a recruiter’s request. That is understandable but what amounts to a red flag is when the only reference submitted is the candidate’s cousin. Always prefer candidates whose applications are backed by strong and relevant references, especially when you personally know or can readily reach out to these persons.

Avoid Making Bad Sales Hires… Once And For All

Having incompetent or unmotivated sellers in your team not only wastes valuable resources but also impacts morale and performance negatively. The ideal scenario is to have a reliable system that prevents sub-par applicants from ever getting on board. The foregoing red flags should at least alert you of common types of unwanted candidates.

Here are some final tips to remember/implement:

  1. Don’t be desperate. Don’t settle for candidates you feel will just cause headaches later on.
  2. Create and adopt an Ideal Candidate Profile for each role in your sales team.
  3. Do your homework. Perform background checks. Go beyond online profiles and resumes and snoop around to verify what candidates are claiming in their applications.
  4. Conduct preliminary phone interviews to spare yourself the agony of actual, in-person interviews with behaviorally flawed or unprofessional candidates.
  5. Partner with specialist recruiters or reliable talent scouts in your particular field.
how to build a successful sales team

How To Build A Successful Sales Team From Scratch: Going From 0-10 Employees, FAST!

In this series, How to Build a Sales Team from 0-10 employees, we review in detail how early stage software companies can go from having a tiny or non-existent sales team to having a large, organized and revenue generating sales team. Specifically, we’re writing for CEO’s with little sales experience or new sales managers of small start ups.

There are many parts to building a successful sales team. You need to hire right, put the right procedures into place to make your team successful, provide your sales team with the proper business development/marketing support etc. For the first part in our series we’ll focus on hiring right because we believe that this is the most important part to creating a successful sales team by far.

If you have a product market fit and talented/hardworking sales people, you can do a whole lot of other things wrong and still see substantial revenue growth.

Which Roles Should You Hire First?

Your first two sales hires, in most cases, should be two Account Executives.

They will be ‘full cycle’ AE’s in that they will handle the business relationship from beginning to finish.

There are many career paths for an AE, but in this case they will essentially be an SDR, AE, and AM simultaneously.

You do this for a few reasons:

  • Hiring only one AE removes competition from the sales process and disables you from seeing any sort of ‘average’ in terms of performance levels.
  • Before hiring SDR’s to book meetings for your AE’s, you need to make sure you have AE’s that can close deals.

For more information on this very early stage hiring, we recommend you watch Danny Leonard from 500 Startup’s speak about this process.

One thing Danny notes is that for these early AE’s you need particularly hungry, entrepreneurial, aggressive salespeople who can pursue new business in a new market with a product that has little brand recognition. This is most likely a different type of employee than a highly polished and refined salesperson that you’ll hire as your company grows.

After your AE’s are consistently closing deals, NOT BEFORE, you can start to scale your sales team. An initial scaling will look something like going from 2 AE’s to 3 AE’s and 2 to 3 SDR’s.

By the way, hiring for SDRs is a different ballgame. Great SDRs will certainly have adjacent skills to AEs, but they are not necessarily one in the same.

Once you have 3 AE’s, you can begin to have a good idea of performance baselines. Here’s what you should see (again, if you have a product market fit):

  • Exceptional AE’s will close up to 45% of opportunities in their pipeline

  • Decent AE’s will close 20-30% of opportunities in their pipeline

  • Poor AE’s will close less than 15% of opportunities in their pipeline and should be fired

Ideally you want to foster a culture of excellence in your company and have all AE’s performing exceptionally. If you have 2 decent and 1 exceptional AE on your sales team, you’re doing a swell job.

Once your sales team is at 5 or 6 people, if your company doesn’t have a sales leader it’s time to hire one. There are two choices, hiring an experienced external leader or promoting your most talented AE to the role.

According to Auren Hoffman (serial entrepreneur with over 1B in exits) companies hire externally for leadership because they want to import the culture of other companies (they want to be like Google or Oracle so they hire sales managers from there). If you want a more pure culture (this is the route Auren seems to prefer for his own companies) you promote internally.

Post Sales Leadership – Hire For Growth

Now that you have a sales leader, you should hire more salespeople very conservatively. If you have three good AE’s, there’s no need to hire more unless they all have calendars that are completely full. If they don’t have full calendars, it’s more important to find out how to earn more leads before hiring more salespeople.

In other words, improve the SDR team’s output or improve marketing efforts before hiring more AE’s. A lot of companies hire to many AE’s and then have to divide the opportunities so much that no AE meets their quota. This is bad for moral and financially inefficient.

Think about your AE’s as conversion rates — and know that they only have value in proportion to the opportunities the company can feed them.

How To Hire For Your Fast Growing Sales Team

Hiring for a sales team is hard especially if you don’t come from a sales background. You have to hire based on the individual level (will this person perform well?) and also at the group level (will these people work well together to accomplish goals as a team?).

We’ve detailed two criterion that you can use to evaluate candidates, with some clear cut guidelines to help make your hiring decisions easier.

We think you should focus on:

  • Sales Talent (for individual success)
  • Diversity (for the success of the team)

How To Identify Sales Talent

Sales talent is different from other kinds of talent. It’s not the talent of software engineer or symphonic pianist. Good SaaS sales people have to be effective communicators, socially strategic, technical, hardworking and patient.

Here’s a good breakdown of evaluating sales talent:

Intelligence:

There are a lot of stereotypes about good salespeople being the former high school popular kid who gets B minuses and C pluses. For good software salespeople this couldn’t be further from the truth. Your company needs smart salespeople. Can you evaluate this by looking at what school a candidate went to and what grades they got? This might help a bit, but it’s better to evaluate intelligence through a conversation during the interview.

Here’s a great question to ask to evaluate intelligence, and its favorite of mega-investor Peter Thiel.

“What is an opinion you have the most other people disagree with?”

An intelligent person will be able to give a thoughtful response because intelligent people think outside of the box.

Ability To Learn (And Be Coached):

Oftentimes this is referred to as ‘coachability.’ But what happens if you’re a CEO with no sales experience hiring your first two AE’s? In this case you need salespeople who can recognize their own mistakes and areas to improve, and figure out how to do better. We’ve found that salespeople who are naturally curious and humble are able to learn from others (management, coaches, peers) and from their own experience. This is something you need to hire for.

Hunger, Hustle, Heart:

Is this person going to work hard enough to foster a culture of competitiveness on my team and drive revenue? You can evaluate this by asking about career goals (people who have high ambitions want to beat the competition to make it to the top). People who played sports in high school or college typically fit this criterion, but so do candidates who did not. You’ll have to go with your gut on this one for the most part.

Hiring For Diversity

We think diversity is perhaps the most important component for having a successful sales team. This is true for the sake of driving revenue, as sales teams that have diverse backgrounds are able to pursue a wider variety of accounts. It’s even more important for internal culture however, as teams that lack diversity often form cliques, and the development of cliques at a startup is highly counterproductive.

We think you should try your best to hire for the following kinds of diversity when building your early sales team:

Gender diversity:

Study after study has concluded that sales teams with a sizable portion of women almost always outperform their male dominated counterparts. For various reasons (perhaps being more empathetic generally), women are typically 5% more likely to close a deal then male salespeople.

Cultural diversity:

Having a mixture of cultural backgrounds at a company is vital to having a strong ‘company culture’. The more backgrounds their are, the more perspectives and ideas permeate the company. This promotes individualism, creativity and prevents ‘group think’. Not to mention there are massive opportunities to sell SaaS in Asian and Latin American markets which require salespeople from those backgrounds.

Experience diversity:  

As we mentioned earlier it is important for early sales hires to be aggressive and hungry. This often times means hiring sales people with less experience than usual who can ‘grow with’ the company so to speak. However when a company starts selling large contracts to Fortune 500 companies, it most likely will need to hire more experienced sales reps who have done something similar. That being said, with a mixture (for example one experienced rep and two less experienced) the experienced rep can coach the newer ones, while the newer ones keep the experienced rep hungry and on her toes.

SPIN Selling

Sales Lead Database Reviews

The world of sales today is dramatically different from what it was a generation ago. Today there are more technologies and tools at the disposal of sales professionals to help make their jobs a little easier. Some might even say that there are far too many tools out there, making it difficult to identify which ones are the best to use. Of course, what’s best for one organization may not be the best for everyone else. As is with all tools and services, each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Therefore understanding how well these match the needs of your business is key to finding that best fit.

Now when it comes to choosing a tool to help your sales team, there are a lot of options. You can choose to invest in tracking systems, masked dialers, email automation, or a plethora of other technologies out there to help improve sales efficiency. To dig deeper and compare the various players in each of these spaces would result in an overly extensive report that most people probably would not want to read through in its entirety. As such the focus of this article will be on lead database solutions that can help the very early, and possibly most crucial, stages of the sales process, prospecting and engaging. Also, do note that this is not a fully comprehensive list.  However, this list is a great way to kickstart your search. The vendors we’ll be looking at today are InsideView, ZoomInfo, DiscoverOrg, and Elucify.

 

InsideView

Other than Elucify, which is a free tool, InsideView is the least expensive of all the providers on this list. As of December of 2016, their pricing was at $99/month per user, with a 15% discount if you go with a full year subscription instead of going month-to-month. With that subscription you’ll have access to their database which provides names, titles, emails and phone numbers for prospects at your target accounts. They also have links to some of your prospects social media profiles if they’re able to find them. The only downside is that of the phone numbers, only around 5% of them will be a direct dial. This might not be a huge concern for some, but for others it can definitely be a deal breaker since direct dials can definitely help speed up the sales process by allowing reps to bypass some gatekeepers. The other thing to note about this service is that they do have a 5 seat minimum, so if your team happens to be smaller than that, you may have to consider buying more than you need to start off.

 

ZoomInfo

Founded in 2000, ZoomInfo is the oldest vendor on this list. Having been in the space for quite a long time, their database is actually very well fleshed out. From personal experience in using the service, I can attest that they do have plenty of workable contacts across various functions and industries. The way ZoomInfo goes about populating their database by using a proprietary web crawler called NextGenSearchBot to analyze, extract and store information. They also have a free version of the tool available which requires users to download an extension that also provides them with even more data. Though ZoomInfo is a little more expensive than InsideView, being priced at $4,900/year for 2 seats, it has a strong advantage in that their database contains a large amount of direct dials. The accuracy of their direct dials has some room for improvement but overall they do work and is well worth the price difference for those willing to cough up the extra cash to gain access to them. Though they don’t particularly help you find all the social media profiles for your prospects, they do have a button you can click to quickly find your prospects on LinkedIn which is actually a pretty helpful feature that can save reps a bit of time. There is also an integration with Salesforce, so if your company is using Salesforce for its CRM, you can take advantage of that integration to more quickly import contacts and save your reps even more time.

 

DiscoverOrg

DiscoverOrg is probably the most expensive of the vendors on this list with a price tag of $2,000/month for 3 users. However with that high price tag also comes a lot more data accuracy. They claim to have 95% accuracy as a result of their 90 day refresh cycle wherein their dedicated researchers call to re-verify all of their information in the systems. They also provide you with a report on the technologies that some of these companies have as well, which can be particularly helpful for certain businesses. DiscoverOrg also provides their best guess at an organization chart to help reps more easily navigate an organization and more quickly find decision makers, though they can’t contractually promise for these charts to be as accurate. Their database is also skewed more towards data around the Information Technology and Services sector, so if that happens to be your target market it could be even more reason to give DiscoverOrg some serious consideration.

 

Elucify

Elucify is actually a tool that anyone can use. Their product is currently in beta and completely free for users. All you need to do is register with a valid business email and you can gain access to their database of leads. They do have a paid version of their product coming up in the near future but for now it’s still a resource that any sales or marketing professional can lean on if they want an additional source of data, especially one that’s free of charge. The contingency is that like ZoomInfo by signing up, you’re agreeing to sharing the business contacts you interact with from that account. This is actually how they’re building out their database and because the company is still in its early stages the database is not as fleshed out as it could be. There is definitely some data accuracy issues here as well. Additionally, unlike some of the other lead database providers we looked at earlier, Elucify only provides you with names, titles and emails. Direct dials aren’t something the company seems to be focusing on, at least for now, but overall the company is getting some serious groundswell and definitely seems to be headed in the right direction. If you don’t plan on leveraging them immediately, it’s definitely worth just keeping tabs to see how the product might evolve in the years to come.

 

Final Takeaway
Just to reiterate, though this list is not comprehensive of all the tools available today it should serve as a great starting point for your research journey in finding the best tool for your team and organization. If you’d like to check out some other providers you can also take a look at Book Your Data, Unomy, Dun & Bradstreet, Hoovers, DataFox, Datanyze, ProfileHopper, LeadGenius, Ripple, Cliently, or the many other companies working to empower sales and marketing that weren’t included here. Again there is no shortage of help out there so take the time to dig through the pros and cons of each company to see which could make the greatest impact on the success of your own business. You can also reference business software review websites like G2Crowd, TrustRadius, Gartner, Capterra, Crozdesk and even communities like Reddit for further insights to aid in your search.

-Dean Park

 

Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.

Get approached by tech companies offering tech sales jobs.