Time to read: 4 minutes

Sales doesn’t have to suck. If you taught yourself to code or have ever learned on your own you can learn the basics of sales.

I understand the resistance to sales. The bad connotations and the uneasy feelings. Believe me, I’ve felt those. Before I started Glance I was 200% interested in building software. I had the same aversion to sales you might have.

All I wanted to do was sit in my room and build more product. Had no desire to talk to customers (we didn’t have any) or potential customers (that felt hard). So all I did was write code. Over time bank accounts drew low and I started to panic. This was a great forcing function to get out of my room and try to do this thing called ~sales~.

Fast forward 3+ years and I’ve learned a bit about how to do this well, and how to stop your mind from playing tricks on you. From one developer to another.

Sales is not inherently bad. There is just a stigma around it. But if you want to have a sustainable business you’re going to need to do it.

Let’s dig in.

There are a few things you must understand about sales.

  • It is a numbers game
  • You can not write an equation (no matter how much machine learning you know) to predict exactly when you will get a sale.
  • You should follow some rough guidelines, and like how you wrote your first program, just do it, test it, do it, etc.

Try to follow these guidelines:

  • Ask questions and shut up
  • Never focus on your solution until they’re directly asking. Always focus on the PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED
  • Charge more
  • Always build more sale pipeline. Any day you are not you are at risk
  • Aim to get 1 sale per 100 cold leads. As in, call 100, get 10 conversations, book 4-5 demos, sell 1.
  • When you call, do not speal your elevator pitch and basically beg for the sale.
  • Do something like “Hey this is Kameron from your software company. Saw you recently raised $5 million dollars in a Series A, thats great. Business must be growing like crazy. Why’d you raise money?”
    • This is such a simple heuristic. This isn’t meant to be some god script. The point is, 2 sentences. Fast and quick. Ask something that shows you know who they are. And shut up.
    • Some portion of people are going to yell, cuss or hang up. Remember sales is a numbers game. For every no you’re closer to a yes.
  • Do this every day for a month. If you do it consistently you should get approx. 10 new customers in month 1 (discounting a ton because you don’t have experience). Depending on your deal size you might be profitable now.
  • Once someone is opening up and you have their initial guard down (transitioning from the Who TF are you to let me tell you about how great we are) phase, try to understand their goals and where the gaps in getting there might be.
    • This can be things like:
      • We want to hit $2,000,000 ARR this year.
      • We want to hire 5 new developers to build out v2 of our product.
      • We raised $5 million to strategically invest in x, y, z.
    • Now you have some idea about their goals. Start asking how they’re going to get there.
      • This can be things like:
        • You want to hit 2 million in ARR this year, what do you need to do that?
          • Oh, you need 5000 leads, 5 sales reps, 1 sales ops person.
          • Ok, how do you get leads today?
          • Oh, they’re inbound?
          • How many do you get a day?
          • Oh, you only get 1 a day. So thats 365 a year. How are you going to scale that up to hit your 2 million dollar goal?
    • Bam. Now you’ve got some great information. If you’re a data company you’ve earned the right to say hey lets set up a demo and I’ll take you through our product and you can see if the contacts you need to hit that 2 million dollar goal are in there. How does tomorrow at 3pm EST work?
    • Do this daily. Over and over. It will be hard. But once you’ve built out the first 10k or 20k and gotten some initial PMF you can start to hire and remove yourself from the entire process.

Just remember, sales is a skill like programming. You couldn’t write full stack web apps the day you were born. Now you’re a damn good engineer. Try it. Iterate and after a few fails you’ll start to get the hang of it.

This post was last updated: Thursday, August 15, 2019