In the latest episode of Headstart Live, Headstart hosted Aaron Ross, the person who helped Salesforce reach $100 million in recurring revenue. About 400 attendees were glued for 90 mins on the interactive zoom call. Aaron Ross was speaking in a fireside conversation with Arjun Pillai, (CEO, Insent.ai).
His book,’Predictable Revenue’, is considered to be the bible for sales teams across the globe.
The talk started with Aaron giving a short intro about his awe-inspiring journey, How he started his own company which later filed for bankruptcy, this made him realize that this was due to a lack of sales skill. which he needed to acquire. Aaron also said that this failure also made him realize that, in order to sell something successfully, he first needs to accomplish something.
In order to acquire this skill, Aaron went and signed up as a sales rep for SalesForce.
Aaron talked about how after joining Salesforce, he found himself to be quite frustrated with this new job opportunity, as he had gone from being a CEO of his own company to now being the lowest level sales rep. However, he didn’t let his ego get in the way of his learning. He realized that this particular skill of selling is going to take time and a lot more practice.
One of the key takeaways for Aaron Ross from this new job was that he cannot be afraid to experiment and fail, and he needed to learn to trust his own intuition.
After this brief introduction, the session broke into Q and A format.
The first question that was received was, “How does a Sales skill help one get an idea off of its feet?”
To this, Aaron replied that-“One must first think like their customer. A Salesperson must at all times know and understand who their customer is and then try and think about what they want or what is the need of the customer not currently being fulfilled by the existing brands in the market. A sales rep must completely be in touch with the thinking of the targeted customer and understand what is in it for the customer to purchase the product being sold to them.
He also talked about how in today’s times the best way to understand the needs of your customer;- isn’t to conduct online surveys but to try and speak to more and more of your customers directly, whether it is on skype, zoom, or any other platform.”
Another point emphasized by Aaron was that one cannot wait for the situation to be perfect or ideal. One must work with the situation and circumstances they are in at the moment.
The next question asked by the audience was “What steps should a founder take if they don’t have a sales skill and want to acquire that skill?”
To this, Aaron responded that according to him there are a few good approaches that can be taken by anyone to acquire sales skills.
- The first way is the hardest yet the best way to acquire this skill, which is to just do it.
- He emphasized that this isn’t easy and needs time and patience, however, it is simply the best way to acquire the skill.
If the first step isn’t possible, the next best approach to go about it is to read. He talked about how if one reads 3 books, one essentially gains enough knowledge to then go about the skill and try and improve it. He recommended 3 books everyone must read: ‘Spin Selling’, ‘Spin Selling 2.0’ and ‘Predictable Revenue’
He also said that if a founder is trying to be a better salesperson, then the founder should be a big part of at least the first 20 sales, and understand their customers to truly be in touch with the business and customer needs.
The next question asked to Aaron Ross was “ When releasing the first version of a new product, how does one go about pricing the product?”
To this, Aaron said that a good simple approach to this is always to look at what your competitors are pricing, and then follow that pricing. Another way to look at this is what value you are offering to your customer, and then price it according to the value added to the product.
He also made a takeaway here: “try and not underprice oneself, as it is significantly harder for one to conduct business deals with small deals.”
Aaron also talked about how as a business to find more customers, it is always easier to sell to someone who doesn’t have an existing provider of that service rather than trying and replacing an existing product.
Sales is a process. When you internalize this process, the results are phenomenal. Happy Selling!