My first article of the year isn’t so much an “article” as it is a quick and helpful checklist for anyone tackling their first annual sales kickoff. Sales kickoffs often get overlooked or pushed aside because they don’t feel as necessary and beneficial as they really are. No matter your size, nothing could be more important than coming together at the start of the year (and really the start of each quarter too) to review, plan and collaborate. This checklist is a great place to start planning yours!
“Once you have a few salespeople you should begin the regular cadence of kicking off the year and quarters together in a slightly formalized way. It’s an important part of forming your culture, it’s good discipline to start early, and it helps ensure everyone is headed on the right path towards quota attainment.”
Justin wrote a great two-part series on marketing art and science, their unique differences and how they intersect. What is SaaS marketing science? As mentioned in the article, SaaS marketing science is about knowing things rather than guessing or assuming things. Knowing who your customer is, what they value, the verbal and visual languages that resonate with them and so on.
Next comes the art of SaaS marketing…
“SaaS marketing is a special combination of science driving art, and art driving science. If either the science or the art is weak, the machine fails. And if it’s the science that’s weak, it can be hard to know what’s failing and why. That’s why we’re starting with the science. It’s not that the art is secondary, it’s just second.”
As mentioned above, the art of SaaS marketing is equally as important as the science behind it. When we talk about art, we’re not only talking about look, feel and design. Although those things can’t be overlooked, we’re also talking about function, messaging and much more. When the art and science diverge there’s opacity between the quantitative and qualitative sides of the house, alignment and transparency suffer and your team’s sense of shared purpose and accountability is compromised. Building a finely tuned SaaS content marketing machine requires both science and art to work together, and the people on either side to work toward the same common goals.
“In SaaS content marketing, you will ultimately find ceilings to content effectiveness. But shortening the distance between your baseline and ceiling is the key to faster results from a finely tuned SaaS content marketing machine. That’s the sweet spot where the science and art are much more than the sum of their parts.”
What does a waterfall have to do with SaaS sales? This article is all about the importance of meeting your prospects at their point of awareness, and assisting them along on their journey to becoming a customer. I like explaining this process through the metaphor of a waterfall, and breaking it down into three parts: The top of the waterfall, the mid-point, and the rapids. In this article, I share some advice on how to determine where your prospects are, how to meet them where they are in their consideration, and move each one into the rapids.
“When opening a conversion with a prospect, you must always consider the appropriate level to start the conversation and you must quickly shift the conversation toward the prospect through effective questioning. Your goal is to tell very little about your company/product/solution until you have learned about them. You do this by answering questions using funnel-aware skills, but following with a question to understand where they are at in their awareness/evaluation.”
This one is exactly what it sounds like. When hiring a sales engineer, the only three things that matter are culture fit, ability to understand your product & sales process, and ability to demo. In my last blog post of the month, I shared the questions I ask when screening for all three.
“The best sales engineers get themselves up to speed. If you point them in the right direction, introduce them to the right people in your company, and give them a few resources, they will go make themselves a product expert on their own. They will teach themselves, figure out their demo talk track and spread their wings before you can bat an eyelash.”
Justin closed out January with some thoughts on hiring SaaS talent for the stage of your company. Simply put, there are people who are makers or creators, and those who are users of things created by others. When searching for SaaS talent, it’s important to understand the distinction between the two and hire with those considerations in mind. Not properly considering the stage of your company during the hiring process can yield devastating results.
“One of the biggest mistakes a startup can make with early, key hires is to give users maker responsibilities.”
And that’s the highlight reel from last month. I hope you will join us over on our blog SaaSX.com for lots more stuff like this!