What's Your Best Sales Advice?

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Apr 10, 2008 9:29:00 AM

    Go leave your best sales advice over here. Lots of great answers over there already. Don't leave a comment below.
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    Topics: sales

    Do Your Prospects Even Want to Know?

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Feb 21, 2008 4:46:00 PM

    Rick has a great post over here that addresses my earlier post.
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    Topics: sales

    On Being Prematurely Excited About the Potential for Online Marketing for Your Business

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Feb 20, 2008 11:41:00 AM

    I talk to a lot of people every day about their business and how and whether online marketing will help them solve their business growth, website and online marketing challenges.

    Usually, I can determine whether I can help them or not before they can determine whether I can help them or not. (Read that sentence again.) 

    Sometimes, I get a little too excited about it. And that's a bad thing because really my job is to help people to buy, not sell them on what I think they can do. To help them buy, it's critical that they determine how I can help them. Not for me to just blurt it out. There certainly is the appropriate time in my conversations with a prospective client to demonstrate how I can help them solve their problems and achieve their goals. But, it's not in the beginning. And it's not until I am convinced I actually can help them and that they say they want the help. 

    For example, one of my clients, Darcy Cook, (cpr training genius) is probably the least literate computer person under 40 that I know.  She's a people person. Put her in a room full of prospects and she'll walk out with 10 contracts. But, on the web, this stuff is intimidating for her. So, when she signed up, I simply established that I knew what her goals were and told her how much time and money she'd need to invest to get there. And that she'd need to be willing to spend the time. By the time I got there in the sales process, I had demonstrated my internet marketing expertise to Darcy and she trusted me to do the right thing for her business. So, Darcy said "let's get started". She's a month in now and about to launch her fully search engine optimized/lead-capture-ready website onto the web. Based on her specific situation, I expect her to generate more leads in her first month with her new site than she did all of last year from the web.

    But, if I had blurted out how I could help her in the beginning of the conversation, I would have just overwhelmed her and she would have probably done nothing other than go to more networking events - in order to grow her business. 

    Now, she'll be out on the web and moving towards her goals of expanding her business beyond New England within the next few months. Something she couldn't have done if she just kept going to local networking events to generate leads.  

    So, if you're reading this and I sent this post to you, you should know that I think it's worth it for both of us to continue talking... because I can probably help you. Don't be discouraged that I haven't said it yet. Be patient if I haven't told you how yet. (I'm still trying to figure out how to best help you.) And if I'm overwhelming you with too much information, just tell me to go slower. 

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    Topics: sales, internet marketing

    The Hubspot-PC4Media Relationship Ambiguity

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Jan 22, 2008 3:09:00 PM

    After reading my blog, Mike at Inquisix asked me if I was a HubSpot SEO Consultant. (HubSpot doesn't call them that. They are internet marketing consultants or IMCs for short. They are the people that coach Hubspot clients in developing and implementing their inbound internet marketing strategy.) But... Very fair assumption.

    Jonah, who's in charge of all the IMCs at HubSpot, read my site and said "It looks like YOU are helping people with their online marketing directly. Shouldn't it say Hubspot somewhere?" Very fair question.

    I met Don Dodge very briefly the other day at HubSpot.  He's the closest thing Microsoft has to a well know blogger evangelist type, since Robert Scoble left. On the day I met Don, he wrote about the reasons why Robert Scoble didn't start a business of his own, but joined Fast Company instead to start a new video website project within Fast Company.

    I've taken the reasons that Don has written and have applied them to why I've joined HubSpot. I hope this will clear everything up for everyone.

    Understanding what you are good at..and what you love to do
    -  I love meeting new people and hearing about their business. I am pretty darn good at solution based selling. I'm really good at helping people diagnose their internet marketing problems. I know enough about online marketing and business to make solid website and internet marketing recommendations for almost any type of business. Hubspot has 90% (maybe more) of what a small or mid sized business needs to attract more visitors and convert more visitors into leads and inquiries in one inbound marketing platform. And they are good at helping everyone from large companies, small business owners, internet geeks and marketing professionals focus on what's important and actually generate leads online that turn into business.  Using their own cooking, they also have more leads than they can handle - which made joining them as a sales rep - a really easy decision. HubSpot and I are a real good match.

    Building a diverse set of income requires a sales crew and attention to client happiness. Agreed. HubSpot has a "Customer Happiness Index". It's a SaaS business and clients must renew. If a client isn't happy, they leave.

    In terms of a diverse set of income, I have that. I have a few passive income streams. WhizSpark clients are being taken care of through outsourced help. Hive411 generates some passive income. But, these aren't my focus areas. Building up my Hubspot revenue is. And I'm part of a rapidly growing sales team where I'll be instrumental in helping them bring new products to market and generate a diverse set of income streams for HubSpot.

    Brian Halligan and Mark Roberge are taking care of building the sales team.  But, if you are based near Boston, know internet marketing and solution based sales, let me know. HubSpot is hiring a salesperson per month. I can put you on the inside track.

    Setting up a business requires a ton of other tasks. I know this from experience. It was difficult for me to juggle selling, servicing and delivering at WhizSpark, not to mention product development, bills, etc. It's nice to be able to just focus on selling at HubSpot. At WhizSpark, Jeetu handled a lot of these tasks and did a great job. But, HubSpot has an office manager, a product support group, and a very smart development team lead by an accomplished software engineer and startup guru, Dharmesh Shah. (Who also happens to be hiring superstar developers, btw. Again, let me know if you want the inside track.)

    Doing a business is stressful on everyone involved.
    Running WhizSpark was difficult not just on me and Jeetu. It was difficult on our wives. Now that I have a son, I don't want anything to distract me from being a GREAT Dad.  HubSpot helps me generate a healthy income with less stress, so that I can spend more time with Peter V and Amy, our family and friends.

    Brand extension is hard when running your ass off to build your own business. Aha. This one hits it on the head. I've always wanted to start "Peter Caputa IV Media" and build kinda like a Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch type empire. I'm not incorporating PC4Media anytime soon. It's a vehicle to help me grow my HubSpot sales and support my clients. And to keep me out there for other potential strategic opportunities. But, I'd much rather focus on creating "my own brand" than something else, right now. Thanks to HubSpot, I have that flexibility.

    Getting access to things, when running your own business, is tougher. Don meant that it's harder to get into events and interviews with rock start CEOs, which is important to Robert Scoble. I'm not sure if it's important to me yet. On the other hand, interviewing CEOs is potentially an important reason to blog, at least from a lead generation and sales perspective. I'd much rather call at the top.

    All that said, I still kinda like the ambiguity. I still see myself as a business owner. Rick Roberge says that being a salesperson is the closest thing to being a business owner anyone can get. I think the reason he says that is because salespeople have to build the business, which is also the primary responsibility of most business owners: growth. 

    Another great business coach, Kate Hyland Mercer and I were chatting the other day and we agreed that we only want to take on business opportunities that help us make more money and do less work. That's what sales is about: How do I get better and better at sales so that I help more people, make more money and ultimately: do less work.

    Along the same lines, I was talking to Rick on the phone. He thanked me for making him an honorary member of PC4Media. He also said he "gets what I'm doing". Just to confirm, I told him that I think I can turn PC4Media into a lead generation and prospect qualification machine for me, so that I ultimately just pick up the phone and take prospects' credit card numbers. He corrected me and said, "You mean have someone else pick up the phone and take credit card numbers." I agreed.

    Unfortunately, that job posting isn't live yet. So, in the meanwhile, I also hope it's obvious to my clients that I recognize that my success is dependent on their success and that I'm here to do what it takes to make them successful. Although I don't get residual income from them staying on as a HubSpot client like I would as a business owner, I know that helping them achieve their goals will ultimately help me achieve mine. That's what Karma is about. Having a vested interest in your clients' success is what "business ownership" is about. That's why my clients are "mine".  And that's why I like a little bit of ambiguity.
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    Topics: sales, about pc4media, business ownership

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