On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we talk with Kris Nelson, head of sales for CoSchedule.com, about how businesses can move from “click, try, buy” to having a full-fledged sales team.
CoSchedule is a SaaS-based marketing platform that helps marketers to stay organized through a combination of content calendar, a product, project management solutions and execution via social campaigns and email campaigns.
CoSchedule took the time to focus on true growth and the company has seen tremendous results. Prior to reaching that point, however, the business, which began as a “click, try and buy,” didn’t even have a sales team.
Initially, they released the product as a straightforward “click, try and buy,” product because it made sense at the time. They also designed it for small teams and individuals. The level of product and the price point didn’t really dictate a need for a dedicated sales team. [01:26]
As the product progressed and became more complicated, however, it became apparent that they needed a sales team to help the clients really understand how CoSchedule could benefit them.
It was simply a natural progression to establish a sales force as the product grew and the price point increased, especially with some of the advanced plans. They moved away from the “click, try and buy,” and toward a professional marketing team and into a standard sales cycle. [03:17]
I’ve always thought it was a waste of time and resources to have the sales reps focus on low-end sales, think $15 a month kind of stuff, because customers don’t need help making a decision at the price point.
Higher end products are different. Companies who ask customers to pay more become more concerned with the quality of the product, and that’s when you need a sales team.
It is truly overkill to engage someone in a formalized, professional sales cycle at some of the lower price points. At the higher price points, it makes total sense.
You have to be sure you are asking the right questions of the organization to make sure your product is a fit. The sale is nice but long-term happy customers are the true goal. [04:25]
Kris credits CEO and co-founder of CoSchedule, Garrett Moon, as the person who helped take the company where it is today.
It began with a series of phone calls to prospects to see if the market was viable and to see if it made sense to move the price point. Once that was established as true, Moon hired more people, including Kris, and the sales process was on its way. [05:58]
Kris says that CoSchedule is still an extremely heavy inbound model. They still decide the best fit for each client, whether that be the “click, try and buy,” model for the lower level plans, or working with a sales rep for the higher level plans.
Kris really had to learn and understand the buying process of the companies that use CoSchedule to determine how many real touch points would be needed from a sales standpoint to be effective.
CoSchedule has a three-call process in place now.
The first, known as the discovery call, allows the sales team to learn more about the client’s business, teach them about CoSchedule and then try to determine at a really high level if there is a potential business fit. If everything matches from a budget standpoint and a use case standpoint, they move forward with the second call.
The second call is a full-scale demonstration of the product. It provides a great chance for the client to invite all their team members who might use the tool.
Kris and his team go through the product with a fine-toothed comb and answer any questions. During this timeframe, they give the potential clients access to a free trial of CoSchedule; a chance to kick the tires. If the team is still checking the right boxes by the end they move into the pricing discussion. [07:28]
CoSchedule provides a great tool for marketing organizations and other small organizations to all get on the same page. Their customers often refer to CoSchedule as the single source of truth for all their marketing efforts.
Whether it’s a social media campaign, or a large trade show event, or a podcast, CoSchedule acts as the organization hub for everything. [08:55]
Although they designed CoSchedule with a marketing focus, Kris believes it is also beneficial from an internal project management standpoint. It puts a formal process in place.
All the checklist items and all the behind-the-scenes items that go into a large-scale effort are put into a central location with CoSchedule. It unites everyone involved with the effort on the same page.
Everyone can see what works well, what needs more work, and where the team must focus to get the product out the door. [09:53]
Growing a sales team, of course, presents a challenge because there are as many different ways that salespeople sell and lots of ways that people sell effectively.
Kris works to understand how his team sells best and to accelerate that process and help them get better every day. He scales the number of reps on his sales team based on demand.
The number of sales calls, for example, on a rep’s calendar really does determine the growth of that team. Kris says they rely on the marketers to continually charge forward with fresh, hot leads so that they can then continue to add more in sales. [11:26]
Kris uses his personal experiences as a way to motivate his sales team.
In the past, he worked for a large banking finance and software company where it didn’t matter so much whether he hit his sales goals. With a smaller company like CoSchedule, however, every single sale matters. Every dollar matters to everyone involved.
As a smaller company, Kris is able to focus on the people who work for him as individuals.
Kris expects that the CoSchedule will continue to add to their sales team. He hopes to continually increase the level of sophistication used to deploy that team.
Know if there is validity to your product first. You’ll be surprised to learn what your product can do.
If you would like to reach out with questions or comments for Kris, he can be reached via email at Kris.firstname.lastname@example.org
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Sometimes the sales basics feel mundane.
Sometimes we burn ourselves out making phone calls and sending emails, and we feel like we’re spinning our wheels. Without regard for how effective it is, we want to try something different.
On today’s episode of Sales From The Street, I share my own experience with burnout and the hard lessons I learned from it. I was looking for an easy way out and avoiding the things I knew I needed to do.
In college, I worked in an IT training company that offered training classes. I was tired of making phone calls and sending emails and I wanted to try something new like guerrilla marketing.
I assumed the marketing department was the problem, and I figured there was a better way to get our company name out there.
After doing lots of research, I launched ideas for computers at bus stations, as well as A-frame signs and banners; and I got very few leads.
It turns out the problem wasn’t the phone calls themselves. The problem was that my phone calls weren’t effective.
I didn’t speak the language of the decision-makers I was contacting. I didn’t understand my ideal customer, and I didn’t know how to differentiate.
When I finally sat down with the technicians to understand what the clients liked about the training and the problems they were trying to solve, I had a better understanding.
I would never suggest that you shouldn’t try new things. Do research in your off-time to discover what others in your industry are doing. Put your own spin on it and tweak it until you get it right.
When you’re consistent at something and you improve and tweak it, you’ll see results.
Make sure you budget your time effectively. Call your prospects when they are most likely to be available. I was calling home phone numbers in the middle of the day when most people were likely to be gone.
Over time, I learned what worked and I gained decent clients and I acquired good experience.
Try unique things that tie to your industry. Understand how to help your prospects and recognize them as humans.
People often tell us to fail quickly and then move on, but what if we don’t have to fail at all? What if you could get a jumpstart by learning from other people’s challenges?
Doesn’t it make sense to figure out where other people went wrong so you can avoid repeating their mistakes?
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