What are Targeted B2B Introductions from Swarmsales?

What are Targeted B2B Introductions from Swarmsales?

The Problem

Companies of all sizes need to break into accounts. Tenured Enterprise Sales Professionals have developed dozens of trusted relationships. These relationships might be active, or dormant if the sales professional no longer covers those accounts.

The Solution

On Swarmsales, companies create sales campaigns in which they indicate the solutions to sell, target accounts they wish to break into and compensation for the sales pro upon completing a successful targeted intro to a decision maker.

How much does it cost?

Typically companies will pay the sales pro a small retainer in the range of $500/mo for them to invest 5-8 hours sending out emails, making phone calls and getting intro meetings scheduled. An intro consists of a face to face meeting or a conference call brokered by the Swarmsales Sales pro and includes the decision maker at the target account as well as a designated executive at the vendor company to whom the opportunity will be handed off to should there be next steps.

Upon completing an intro, sales pros will collect a payment in the order of $300-500 for achieving that only milestone, and they will hand over the opportunity to the vendor company’s internal sales team or to a business partner to continue progressing the opportunity to closure. If the opportunity is won, an influencer fee in the range of $1000 to $10,000 will be paid out to the sales pro as well.

What is the ROI with Swarmsales?

Check out this spreadsheet and let us know if we need to walk you through it

How do engagements work?

By using Swarmsales, companies can invite sales professionals to broker introductions into accounts and viceversa. Sales professionals can review a vendor company’s sales campaign and could suggest an account they’d like to broker an introduction for. Companies and Sales Pros have the ability to Accept or Decline engagements based on their level of interest.

Is your company looking for targeted introductions to b2b decision makers?

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After all, vendor companies just need targeted b2b introductions to decision makers.

After all, vendor companies just need targeted b2b introductions to decision makers.

If you’ve been a startup founder or you’ve been part of a startup from it’s inception, you’re well aware of the fact that the product or service that gets you to Product Market Fit, delights customers and achieves the hockey stick growth effect that your VC’s invested in is most likely not the initial product you envisioned on day one.

Many have written about how to iterate to get there and there are several methodologies out there to follow which will most likely get you to that PMF (Product Market Fit) point faster. The lean startup process  “Build, Measure, Learn” is probably the most famous one out there and I highly recommend that you follow it if you’re in the pursuit to disrupt something with a software based product.

When we started Swarmsales, our thesis was that we could build a marketplace that would connect Vendor Companies and Proven Enterprise Sales Pros to break into accounts and close deals faster. We implemented a milestone based compensation system for companies to only pay sales professionals based on completing milestones (Introduction, Demo, Pilot, Win) successfully and that was a great value proposition for Companies (Demand Side of our marketplace). I won’t get into all the details about what we had to iterate on but here are some of the most important ones:

  1. Supply is King: As Andrew Chen says it well in his recent post. All of these Uber for X companies failed because they couldn’t keep their supply side engaged (in our case the Enterprise Sales Pros are our supply side) because they just couldn’t pay the bills with what they made on Swarmsales.
  2. Sales Pros needed a lot more attention, training and support than we initially envisioned and those that ended up becoming experts with products/services that they found on Swarmsales would eventually be offered a full-time position by the companies that engaged with them.
  3. Because we were suggesting that Swarmsales sales professionals could do everything in the sales process from Identification of an opportunity through Validation, Qualification and Closing the deal, this posed a huge conflict of interest with the vendor company’s internal sales force (inside sales primarily) or with their channel sellers who are the real independent sales forces for our vendor companies.
  4. We had a lot of early stage companies join Swarmsales initially and they all had products that were still not “Sales Ready” and they were themselves trying to co-build their solutions with the enterprise to become relevant. Many of our independent sales people complained that they found out a few weeks or months into the sales process that the vendor company’s solution wasn’t really ready for prime time and they had invested a lot of time to ultimately loose the deal to a more mature player.

These 4 findings led us to come up with a better way for Swarmsales to be of value to both vendor companies and sales pros, and here is what we are now suggesting as the best course of action:

 

  1. Sales Pros need to pay their bills just like everyone else and if you want to tap into their rolodex, you should pay for the time it takes them to get you those discovery calls/intros to decision makers. We’re suggesting that companies can pay a sales pro $500-$1000/mo and ask them for 5-15 hours of their time to draft emails, send email and text messages to get you those great intro calls your company needs.
  2. This is a platform and not a marketplace. You’ll have to assign someone to run the “B2B Targeted Introductions” effort in the same way you assign someone to run your “marketing automation” efforts with hubspot. If you just turn Swarmsales on and wait for sales pros to engage with you and get deals done for you, it just won’t happen. Ideally you’ll want to arm our Sales Pros with the basic info for them to have an intelligent 15 min conversation about the business problems or use cases your company can solve for and use that to get you in front of their rolodex at your target accounts.
  3. Just use the Swarmsales Sales Pro for a “Highly Qualified Introduction” and have them hand over the opportunity to your internal sales specialists or use these opportunities to build pipeline for your business partners such as Resellers or ISV’s and have them do all the rest. Our Swarmsales Sales Pros should collect a nice payment for that qualified intro ($350 to $600 seems right) plus an influencer bonus when your sales team or channel seller wins a deal. We expect this bonus to vary anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000 per closed deal.
  4. Our goal for 2018 and beyond is to bring in more companies like DropBox, SungardAS and Globant who are already customers and all joined Swarmsales for the “B2B Targeted Introductions”

If your company has a Sales Ready Product and you’re looking to break into new accounts while lowering your cost of sales, feel free to drop us an email at info@swarmsales.com or start here.

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Army Lessons Applied to Sales

Army Lessons Applied to Sales

As a new writer for this blog, I’ll begin my first post by introducing myself. My name is Sergio Areiza, I’m 26 years old, and I recently started working in Business Development with Swarmsales. I’m, also, a recently transitioned military officer and Swarmsales is my first job in Business. At the age of 17, I joined the Colombian Army, so I never learned much about this business until now. Still, this new chapter of my life has been exciting and challenging at the same time. I’m frequently asking myself: How do I approach leads? How do I generate them? It didn’t take me long to realize that there are many similarities between my current job and my old one. This reminds me of some army lessons I learned as a Lieutenant.

Lessons #1: Methodologies, the SOPs of Business

I served as the 2nd in command of a company of 144 newly recruited soldiers. I’m talking about 17-19-year-old kids, just out of high school going into their mandatory service time. I was in charge of planning everything for these soldiers, from their training schedules to their meal plans. Thankfully, I had a good team of Drill Sergeants assigned to my unit and they brought me up to speed quickly. Out of all the lessons, I was taught, the lesson that made my life the easiest was organizing my processes into what we called SOPs (Standard Operational Procedures).

What did this mean? It meant that we, as leaders, had a standard plan for any possible situation. Someone got hurt? We had a plan; A soldier lost a piece of equipment? We had a plan for that too. Basically, we brainstormed what might happen in day to day life and prepared our solutions ahead of time. Through our company’s SOPs, we created a framework and an order of business for our day to day life. Today, I learned that this Army mentality is very useful for how we do sales, so I started to look into it. Sales methodologies exist, like MEDDIC and SPIN, that are very organized approaches to sales.

Lessons #2: Don’t Shoot in the Dark

There’s saying in the army: By failing to plan, you are planning to fail; There’s another saying too: No plan survives the first point of contact. It sounds counter-intuitive, but we still have to learn to work with it. The first saying, I learned, was the absolute truth. If you went into anything without a plan, it was more than likely going to go all wrong. I draw parallels to sales because in my learning process, I have seen some salespeople who approach business in a very fluid manner. This isn’t a bad thing, on the contrary, being fluid and adaptive is definitely a must in this world.  It is, however, useful to have some sort of structure to our approach. This structure lets us organize our thoughts and actions, which in turn, makes for a smoother process when generating and following up leads.

Lessons #3: Always Carry a Backup

The second saying, I learned, is only true if you are very lucky. A plan going perfectly in the first run is like seeing a shooting star, very unlikely but it might happen. Planning is a good thing but also the fact that plans tend to not always work isn’t meant to be a contradiction. It means that in order to make up for this fact, we need to plan a little more, not ditch planning altogether.

If you have some sort of structure set up and you feel confident about it, grab that plan and save it for later. Break out a new piece of paper and plan everything again from scratch, except this time, do it completely differently. These plans are called alternates, and they’re there for exactly that; Whenever the primary plan doesn’t work, just jump over to the alternate. This applies to sales because having alternate plans is fundamental to any planning process, no matter if you’re in the Army or in the business world, it still applies.

Things to Think About

The purpose of this post is to share some lessons I learned in my time with the Army and how they apply to my current job with Swarmsales. This doesn’t mean that they’re laws and absolutes.

It’s good to have a structure and to have a method but if there’s a solid opportunity that needs immediate action, jump on it, there’s no reason not to. Second, planning is important but it shouldn’t take so much time that you’re greatly limiting your time for other parts of your job. Also, create and follow your plan but also stay on your toes, don’t lose that flexibility that we all need in this world. Finally, create different plans for different solutions and keep working at it, but if it isn’t working no matter how many attempts you throw at it, move on. Again, time is valuable so don’t spend too much of it in one approach.

If you want to learn more about Swarmsales and what we do, you can visit us here.

 

The Diversity That Could Go a Long Way

The Diversity That Could Go a Long Way

Having a multicultural company has many perks and can lead to many distinct ideas that could ultimately push the company in a positive manner. As my final project, I got the chance to interview some Swarmsales employees about their experiences at the company. I wanted to learn what it was like to be a part of such a company, which has employees of such different backgrounds. Their company has employees based out of California and various countries in South America (Argentina, Colombia, and Venezuela). My theory was that the diversity in a company could be difficult to adapt to, but I was wrong.

 

My first interview was with the SVP of Engineering, Anil Koppisetti. Having an Indian background, yet being stationed in the United States, I was able to gain his insight on what it is like working with some of the other employees in the company. He told me that his experiences with his international Swarmsales employees are easier than one would think. Their native tongues do not interfere with one another and they communicate proficiently in English. Being there from the beginning, Anil has got along with the other employees regardless of their ethnic backgrounds. He told me the culture was different, but it was easy to learn and interpret. All of the Swarmsales employees were easy to understand and had no trouble with each other. It was interesting to see his perspective and how their company managed to have employees working all around the globe.

 

After interviewing Anil, I had the privilege of interviewing one of the marketing interns, Clementina Cortes. Coming from Venezuela, she was of the unique employees who was based out of a South American country. I asked her how communications and other facets of the company were in her eyes. She discussed how working abroad was honestly not much different than a domestic occupation. Having previously worked in various jobs before Swarmsales, the transition was not difficult and she felt it was quite similar. She, along with Camila Robayo (the Customer Success Manager at Swarmsales), both enjoyed the experience of working with other cultures. Both are proficient in English prior to working at Swarmsales and have had previous jobs. Camila also added that it was different not having someone watching over them and it added a sense of responsibility to their craft. Since all the employees live in different parts of the globe, they were all held accountable for their work and had to work diligently to ensure the success of the company. It was a pleasure talking with them about their experiences and how having such a diverse company has worked out for them.

 

Finally, I had a chance to interview Kyle Hurst (Customer Success Manager) about us views of the diverse country. He shared similar views with the other employees but has a different background. Originally from California, he now lives in Bueno Aires, Argentina. This may seem like a very different setting, yet Kyle sees no major differences. He works in an office with other Americans and shares a common occupation with many. Due to different time zones, communication was the most difficult part. Although there may be some downsides, the positives for Swarmsales definitely surpass the negatives.    

 

Interviewing these different employees has allowed me to understand the complexities and benefits of having such a diverse unit of workers. Although many of them are from various backgrounds, they all unite to attain one common goal for the good of the company. Going into the future, I look to be a part of such a group because cultural diversity leads to innovation and new ideas. Next time you work in a group or company in which you are unfamiliar with your partner’s background, get to know them because it could truly push you and your company to the next big thing.

 

Social Media’s Influence

Social Media’s Influence

Social media has a massive impact on our daily lives and has allowed us as a civilization to evolve. Through face-to-face connections and posting how we feel, it has connected us in a new and desirable way. As a teenager, I grew up having these technologies at my fingertips and always found myself making the most of them. From taking snapchats with dog filters to the reading humorous twitter tweets, social media has a grand presence, which enlightens all regardless of their age. Its presence also allows us to easily chat with friends when they are not present, which was an unforeseen concept 50 years ago. However, It was not until today that I realized that it was more than just a way to talk to friends and post funny pictures.    

 

Today, I got to see how social media was used in the business world and how any form of it can go a long way in helping a company. The CEO of Swarmsales, Ankur, invited me to his studio where he was recording his new LinkedIn series known as Founders Unleashed. On his show, he interviews investors and entrepreneurship about their road to success. Together, they outline the common flaws of a company and what steps one should take in order to prevent these. It was a unique idea and I was thankful for the opportunity to join him on the set. I was even allowed to sit in the spotlight. This component of social media allows Ankur a different method towards addressing these fallacies. Founders Unleashed uses broadcasting as one of many forms of advertisement on social media. It gives its viewers insight into the life of an entrepreneur and wouldn’t be possible without social media. However, this was only a microcosm of what social media was truly capable of.

 

Commercials, websites, apps, and other advertisements are becoming a new development that allows companies to go beyond their common uses. In the past, social media was used to promote your personal self and gain followers for social clout. But now, businesses sought to reinvigorate this basic concept and turn it into a marketing tool. These tools allow a company to broaden their horizons by promoting their products and sell their ideas. Customers are able to directly converse with the executives about anything in the company. Likewise, it allows companies to attract new customers into their domain. Business owners can also adopt past ideals about social media in order to promote themselves. This allows them to have a wider audience and be the company’s mouthpiece. All these different assets are crucial to a company because it allows their influence to expand to all parts of the globe. Without this mechanism, companies would only have word of mouth and could not develop a wide enough fan base to be successful.

 

As a teenager, being able to see social media evolve has been quite remarkable. I’ve grown up using it as a way to chat with friends and post my childhood adventures. But now, its function has drastically changed and allowed companies to expand their customer database. This tools gives companies a direct pipeline to their customers and grants them the ability to promote their products instantly. It can target individuals free of cost and is highly effective. Businesses around the world are evolving and social media is going to be the driving force behind whether these companies have a large audience backing them. In conclusion, next time I take a selfie or compose a tweet, I will think about the impact that has on my personal brand and how it may also potentially strengthen my professional brand also.

 

Social media college applications? Why not.

 

Pitch Fridays

Pitch Fridays

The founder of Swarmsales Ankur invited me to join him in an event called Friday Pitch Day. It was located at a venue called Plug and Play in Silicon Valley. Coming from Cincinnati, I had never experienced this nor even heard of it. I was excited for the opportunity to immerse myself in the culture of an entrepreneur. When first arriving in Silicon Valley, I was amazed by the amount of I.T. and technology companies there were in such a condensed area. This was especially new for me because I’ve never been surrounded by so many startups and ideas at once.

When I entered Plug and Play, it was quite overwhelming. There were hundreds of people discussing their businesses and getting input from their peers. It was extraordinary to see how many different countries were represented and how different their ideas were. The event was essentially a 2 hour time where the individual’s goal was to promote their company and request funds or awareness from their audience. Ankur was also one of the CEOs who was presenting his startup to the audience. The idea of it sounded very unique and reminded me a lot of a commercial.

A few startups that sparked my interest were VideoMyJob, Resonado, and Sudu. VideoMyJob was a company which specialized in designing branded video job ads using a smartphone. Resonado is a company that revolutionizes the audio industry with its patented speaker technology. Finally, Sudu is a company that offers an end-to-end platform that matches shippers and carriers based upon route optimization.

The reasons why they were interesting was because they showcased very different problems and a reasonable solution to them. Their pitches grabbed the attention of their audience and proved that their idea was a viable solution to their problem. They also portrayed themselves very professionally and were able to handle criticism when questioned about their product. After hearing some of their pitches, I had learned many of the assets required to correctly pitch a product.  This allowed me to learn some of the key techniques for persuading my audience and grabbing their attention. It also taught me ways to professionally demonstrate my idea, while making sure I’m not coming off as cocky or demanding. What amazed me, even more, was that this event was a weekly arrangement. It showed me that there was a world of ideas and startups that could solve any problem.

The event showcased many different fields and interests from various startups around the world. It featured up and coming startups as well as established companies who sought more attention. The audience consisted of investors and critiquers who sought to question the presenter and give feedback on their demonstration. After all the companies had pitched, they were judged by a panel of people in the audience. Then, everyone in the room shared a meal and discussed their companies privately with those in the room who were interested.  

It was interesting to see how one pitches their company and what were the most effective ways of doing so. Some individuals demonstrated their companies by using videos and others used product demonstration. The most intriguing thing was to see the different components of a pitch. Most were similar in that they all addressed a problem and tried to solve it through their product. Their presentations included business models, competition awareness, projections, sales, revenue, and much more. However, I learned one must be concise in a pitch because it is typically only 4-5 minutes long. Once the pitches had concluded, it was neat to be able to talk with some of the presenters and get their advice and insight into their origins. This was a time where people are able to make potential deals or just chat about anything business related. I was able to get advice from some of the people who were pitching on what are the main ideas when promoting a company in such a brief time period.

 

Some of the tips I had learned on how one should perform a pitch in such a finite amount of time include

  • Do not show videos while presenting because it distracts the audience from the presenter.
  • Be aware of the competition and be different
  • Be brief in your demonstration, but effective in your point.
  • Showing your product and backing it up with numbers makes your presentation more effective
  • Be able to take criticism with a grain of salt because no product or idea is perfect. There is always going to be someone who denies the validation of your product, so you need to be able to change or address their complaints.

 

Overall, it was a thrilling experience and one I would love to participate in later in the future. Being from Cincinnati, it really opened my eyes to the field of entrepreneurship and what it takes to become an entrepreneur. The various startups handled their respective problems in unique ways and it made it more interesting to see the backgrounds of how they did it. It also allowed me to understand how to pitch my own startup and how I should appropriately go about doing so. Furthermore, I was able to meet different individuals from around the world who specialized in different areas of interest. Coming out to Silicon Valley has been an amazing experience and has lit the entrepreneurial fire in my belly.