For 10+ years, Walt Smith has been working in sales at tech startups. He’s used to being entrepreneurial and embracing change so we asked him what he’d recommend to other B2B sales professionals during this time of constant transition. His advice? Pivot, pivot, pivot.
What were you doing before you started at StorySlab?
For almost 4 years, I was working for a tech startup. It was a B2C/B2B beer discovery app for users throughout the world and there were over 9 million active users when I was there. I worked on the business side and sold software solutions to bars, restaurants, breweries, retail locations, and enterprises throughout the world—in over 57 countries.
How did you transition when working in an industry so heavily impacted by Covid?
It was difficult. Covid had a huge impact on bars, restaurants, and breweries. We had to pivot to maintain customers. The users were still there, but we had to bring in different facets for users to stay engaged. Businesses that had been closed down due to lockdowns had to postpone their services, so we worked more with retail. When one vertical goes down, another raises. You have to be ready to change everything from your target buyer to your feature set.
What did you learn about B2B selling in your last role?
Always know the client, your product, and how the product can benefit your client. Have good conversations that help you understand the pain points, then know your product enough that you can sell to them based on their needs.
Show how the product will make employees’ lives easier, help the company, and help them as a manager. Show them that they could have it in their hands quickly and that it would go a long way. Make it sound intriguing and must have. Get across to prospective clients that they’ve lived without it, but why? It will increase exposure, business, and revenue.
How do you increase your knowledge quickly?
There’s always room for growth and learning. I take it upon myself to never think I know it all and absorb as much knowledge about something as I possibly can so I can speak to it properly. I’m constantly keeping up-to-date with materials, reviewing my own daily demos and pitches, trying to figure out a newer, better way to sell every day.
Since we’re selling to salespeople, I’m also always learning about the sales tactics they use and what makes them tick. I’m asking how their team is out in the field, how they’re coping with Covid, how they’ve pivoted to keep revenue coming in and business up. I’m absorbing knowledge from salespeople and using that in my day-to-day to get even better at selling.
How do you develop an understanding of so many different verticals?
Ask a lot of questions. Always prep whether it’s the day before. I review the pipeline, who I have coming up and do as much research on the company and vertical as I can so I have knowledge going into the call to ask pertinent questions.
What do you do when the prep you’ve done doesn’t prepare you for the conversation?
You never know where the conversation will lead once you get on a call. Let the prospect talk as much as they can. You’ll get the discovery from them. They’re telling you their process. There’s not one demo that’s the same as the previous one. So just listen to what they’re saying and you’ll have the opportunity to get your message across in a way that fits their needs.
How are the salespeople you’ve spoken with adapting to Covid?
We talk to so many diverse people in so many different verticals. Some people have been out in the field nonstop and that’s the only way they know how to sell. Their numbers are down a lot and they’ve had to let people go.
Almost everybody is on an uptick. So if they were knocked down super low, they’ve pivoted now and are on the climb. They’ve figured their process out over the past 8 months and if they’ve had to adapt to inside selling, some people are really liking it. They recognize how streamlined and efficient it is. Sales reps can talk to more people by being remote and having more web meetings instead of jumping on a plane. They’re growing with the times and adapting to new technology.
With StorySlab, the same call they had that morning on the web they can have out on a construction site. The experience is the same whether they’re sitting at a desk at home or out in the field.
What would you suggest to people who aren’t used to the constant change that’s happening?
Change is always scary, but it can be a great thing for companies. As someone who’s been a part of the startup and tech world for 10+ years, I know what it’s like to have to pivot. Accept that change is here and that we might not go back to what it was like a year ago. And realize that there are resources like StorySlab to support you and help you pivot.
Your marketing team is responsible for many different marketing channels – from the company website to e-mail campaigns to social media and beyond. But, have you ever considered that your…
- Oct 08
- 7 mins read
Sales coaching is a critical part of having an efficient, effective sales process, and it’s an integral part of a marketing team’s overall role, yet many marketers don’t think sales…
- Aug 17
- 10 mins read
- October 8, 2021
- 7 mins read
- October 8, 2021
- 7 mins read
- September 8, 2021
- 8 mins read
- September 1, 2021
- 9 mins read