January 15, 2020
Bernie Schroeder is currently the director of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center at San Diego State University, where he has built a leading entrepreneurship program and has helped hundreds of startups get their first clients.
Where Bernie really cut his teeth was marketing- founding CKS Partners, one of the world’s first integrated marketing agencies and managing the advertising spend of tech companies like Yahoo and Amazon, eventually bringing his company public with almost 9000 employees and $1b in revenue.
Bernie is the author of 4 books including the most recent one, Startup Culture Mindset.
January 8, 2020
Today’s guest is a Salesforce alum who has turned into a master of marketing. Tricia Gellman is a 3 time Chief Marketing Officer for both public companies and venture-backed startups like Salesforce, Drift, and Checkr.
Tricia has been around the block, dropping inside knowledge of Steve Jobs lessons, a Salesforce OG Squad secret society, and the first questions that founders asked their customers.
Please enjoy my conversation with Tricia Gellman.
December 18, 2019
Cole Schafer is an expert in both writing and sales. Cole is the writer, marketer, and hopeless romantic behind Honey Copy, one of the best business writing coaching sites that I’ve found. Cole has written sales, advertising, and website copy for companies as wide-ranging as The Hustle, Capital.com, The American Ultimate Disc League, and others. He specializes in writing words that help sell, in his words, "like a Florida snow cone vendor on the hottest day of the year".
Cole has been immensely successful with the business, earning 5X the industry average for a copywriter. After reading some of his work at honey copy.com, I think you’ll see why.
December 12, 2019
Our guest today is Sam Trachtenberg. This episode is different than usual, as Sam is not a seller, but a buyer. Sam has been VP of Operations at companies as big as AdRoll, buying products to help over 500 employees and spending many millions of dollars every year, and COO at companies as new as WhereTo, his current venture-backed startup where not a single tool gets bought and implemented without his approval.
Speaking with Sam taught me how the person on the other side of the phone thinks. We talk about what the conversation looks like when his team says they need a product, stories of terrible sales processes, and how he decides whether to build or to buy a product.
Understanding the buyer and their needs and learning to speak their language is the name of the game in early-stage sales. I loved talking to Sam, because it gave a peek into what happens after the call. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Sam Trachtenberg.
December 4, 2019
"You never really know who can help you. You never really know who you can help."
That's my favorite quote from my conversation with 6 time VP of Sales and author of "Addicted to the Process," Scott Leese.
Scott has taken 5/6 of the startups he's worked with from pre-revenue to >20m ARR (annual recurring revenue) in under 3 years. So basically, he crushed it.
Scott is also the founder of Surf and Sales, a micro-conference bringing people together to learn about sales while in a fun, interactive, surfing environment.
He's smart, he’s fun, he’s super cool. Ladies and gentlemen, Scott Leese.
November 20, 2019
Our guest today is Viv Faga.
Viv has led marketing as a VP or CMO at Salesforce, Yammer (which sold to Microsoft for 1.2b) and Zenefits. Today, she’s the operating partner at Emergence that focuses on early-stage SAAS investing.
Marketing fundamentals are crucial to early-stage success, and Viv and her colleagues argue that founders should hire a marketer before they hire a salesperson. We talk about the different ways CEOs respond to marketing ideas, how category creation works, and how culture at companies like Salesforce and Yammer directly supported the success of those companies.
Learn more about Viv and Emergence capital at emcap.com or @vivfaga on Twitter.
November 13, 2019
Our guest today is Patrick Mateer. Patrick’s story as the founder of Seal the Seasons is amazing, and I particularly love it because I watched him start the company 5 years ago and grow it into a very impressive food startup.
So, what is Seal the Seasons (@sealtheseasons on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter), and who is Patrick.
Seal the Seasons partners with local farmers to sell locally-grown frozen fruit 365 days a year in nearby grocery stores. Seal the Seasons currently operates in five different regions of the United States (Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, Pacific Northwest & Pacific Southwest) with 4-9 products available in each region.
The company was founded in 2014 by Patrick Mateer, a local food entrepreneur who founded the company while in college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Go Heels. Mateer is a 2017 recipient of the Forbes 30 Under 30 for Social Entrepreneurs, as well as a winner of the 2018 Specialty Food Association Leadership Award for Vision.
Seal the Seasons began by selling produce in North Carolina-based retailers in the fall of 2016, expanding to new regions in the fall of 2018 and winter of 2019. Seal the Seasons is now available in 30 states and more than 3,000 conventional and natural grocery stores.
Patrick has been through the mill of early stage sales, fumbling around a new industry, working tirelessly to build trust, and always doing what’s right for the customer. We have a great conversation with lessons anyone can take away into food, tech, or any other industry.
November 6, 2019
Derek Rahn has spent his entire career in sales, doing all jobs from an intro level SDR to, currently, the VP of Sales at LeadGenius. Derek has led some major deals, including getting LeadGenius into Google. He thinks a lot about what it takes to train young SDRs, how to move a company's sales strategy upmarket, and what AI means for the future of sales.
My favorite part of the conversation is our discussion about how a startup needs to prepare itself for selling larger clients. I'm obsessed with the value of selling to small companies and getting everything possible out of the fast sales cycles and fast feedback loops before moving to larger clients. Derek has been through that multiple times and knows that crossing the chasm from small client to large takes many startup lives. We talk a lot about how to survive that crossing.
I learned a lot from Derek and took quite a few notes, including the quote: startups selling to startups is like drunk people selling each other beer at a bar. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Derek Rahn.
October 23, 2019
This is a special episode, as our guest, Kyle Morris, is host of the Kaizen podcast, all about sales operations in the early stages. We took this opportunity, two podcasters podcasting together, to interview each other. So you'll hear Kyle start by interviewing me for the first half of the episode. I talk about how I think about selling something as seemingly futuristic as self-driving cars, how to gain customer trust, and one pretty crazy story about I got a group of nudists as one of my previous startups' biggest clients.
Then, we turn the table and I ask Kyle about his experiences leading companies through the early stages, and everything he's learned. Kyle spent time as a director of lead generation and of operations at Gigya, a company acquired by SAP. Kyle grew his sales team from 7 people to 75 in multiple markets, and learned a ton about managing a team during that process.
Currently, Kyle is the founder of SifData, which helps companies reduce churn and grow pipeline, and Kicksaw, a firm focused on helping companies scale.
October 10, 2019
Our guest today is Carthele Kelly. Carthele started selling in Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest field sales machines in the world. He moved into tech shortly after, as the first hire at LeadGenius, growing to Head of Sales, and Director of Sales Development at Zenefits where he hired dozens of sales reps for his team. Throughout, he has been a Mentor at the famed accelerator, 500 Startups, teaching hundreds of founders about early-stage sales.
Cart and I spend a lot of time on specific stories and strategies that he implemented before taking things to a higher level. It was great to get into the nitty-gritty, and I hope you enjoy this episode with Carthele Kelly.