Each week, Revenue Operations expert Rosalyn Santa Elena shines the spotlight on founders, CEOs, and Revenue Leaders from hyper-growth companies and dives deep into the strategies they implement to drive growth and share their learnings. Rosalyn brings you inspirational stories from revenue generators, innovators and disruptors, as well as Revenue Leaders in sales, marketing, and operations.
When you are an early stage founder, where - and how - do you start building your revenue engine?
In this episode of The Revenue Engine podcast, Rosalyn discusses this and more with Scott Sambucci, the CEO and Founder of SalesQualia. SalesQualia focuses on helping enterprise technology startups ramp up - and scale up - their sales teams and increase revenue through founder coaching programs and sales coaching.
And who is more qualified than Scott? Probably no one. In addition to being a CEO and Founder, Scott is an accomplished author, professor, speaker, and revenue leader with experience in product, sales, marketing, customer success, and even operations! Want more? Scott is also a three time ironman, ultra runner, and marathon swimmer!
Grab your headphones and listen, learn, and be inspired.
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Thanks to Sales IQ Global for powering the Revenue Engine.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Welcome to the revenue engine podcast. I'm your host, Rosalyn Santa Elena. And I am thrilled to bring you the most inspirational stories from revenue, generators, innovators, and disruptors revenue leaders in sales, in marketing. And of course in operations. Together, we will unpack everything that optimizes and powers that the revenue engine are. You ready? Let's get to it.
When you are a builder of revenue engines at startups, a lifetime learner and an avid coach, it makes perfect sense that you would start your own business focused on founder, coaching programs and sales coaching to help organizations ramp up and scale up their revenue. I had the opportunity to sit down.
With Scott, Sam, Sambucci the CEO and founder of SalesQaulia. In addition to being a CEO and founder, Scott is an accomplished author, professor speaker and revenue leader, not to mention he's also a three time Ironman ultra runner and a marathon swimmer. So please take a listen to this amazing journey of a career coach and one of the nicest people you will ever meet.
Excited to be here today with Scott, Sam, Sambuccithe CEO and founder of SalesQualia, uh, focuses on helping enterprise technology, startups ramp up and scale up their sales teams and increase revenue through startup founder, coaching programs and sales coaching. In addition to being a CEO, Scott is an accomplished author, professor speaker and revenue leader, not to mention.
Three time, iron man, ultra runner, and a marathon swimmer. So welcome Scott, and thank you so much for joining me. Thanks for so excited to unpack your story. Learn from here.
Scott Sambucci: Thanks. Um, with the ultra running and the swimming. I just tell people I like to cover long distances by means of self propulsion.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's a great way to put it well. So thank you for joining me. Let's talk a little bit about your career. Right. You have such an amazing background as I was sharing with you kind of before we started recording, you know, I've seen that you've been a leaders in product in sales and marketing in customer success and even in operations.
So not to mention, uh, also a lot being a lifelong. As well. So let's start maybe with your non-teaching side first, can you share a little bit about your career journey on the business side?
Scott Sambucci: Yeah, I think, uh, probably the easiest place to start is coming out of college. I was a history major, which meant either you had to teach, which I didn't want to get teaching degree.
Uh, you work at a museum or you go to graduate school and I didn't get into two of the graduate schools that I applied to. So then I was stuck with like, okay, And a friend of mine had graduated about two years before me and said, look, I've been doing sales. It's really great. I think you do well. And so I think you should apply for some sales jobs and that's really, it was really out of the need to pay rent and get a job out of college that led me into sales.
And, um, so my first kind of real job out of college, I ended up working with Prentice hall, which is now Pearson education, selling college textbooks to professors. And so I'd go to university campuses, talk about their classes, they'd be teaching and showing them why they should be using our textbooks in the classes.
Kind of late nineties, early two, like yeah, late nineties, mid to late nineties. I graduated college in 96. And this is really, if you think about the timing that first web 1.0, the first internet wave and the first internet. Boom. And so with the textbooks, the publishers started publishing a lot of technology company and that's to go with the books, companion website.
CD ROMs that would go on the books and that just, yeah, exactly.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: I'm laughing, but I shouldn't be because
Scott Sambucci: i had those too.
I had those too, we all had those. And so that really got me close to technology in the way we think of it today, you know, websites and, and, and other online materials. And from being a successful sales person, I did some product work that Prentice hall, uh, and then in early, late 2001, Early 2002, I was recruited to move to Silicon valley to work with a startup called , which was founded by an economist named Paul Romer, who more recently just won the Nobel prize in economics.
Back then, about 20 years ago, he had started this ed tech startup and the, the tech world. At that time, they didn't really understand content. And so they were recruiting a lot of people from the publishers. Uh, from the east coast and I was one of those people that got recruited out and that's what led me to Silicon valley in the first place.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Amazing. Um, I think, you know, along your journey, you know, I've seen that you've also been an avid coach and teacher. I was a university lecturer professor and a whole lot more. So can you tell, talk a little bit about that side of your experience?
Scott Sambucci: Yeah, that, that kind of started when I was as a sales rep with Prentice hall.
I, I just felt like I had this enormous opportunity at a really great manager who was very supportive and I really to take advantage of this opportunity that was in front of me. And so I just started reading books. I was reading sales books. I'd go to the bookstore and pretty much read a sales. Or a personal development book every single week.
And that got me thinking about like, wow, I could, I could start soon. I would love to train people and teach people the stuff that I'm learning. And even within Pearson, within Prentice hall, I started doing some sales training for our district and for a regional team. And so it just kind of like developed its DNA.
There. So we fast forward into, uh, when I was at Silicon valley and Appalachia, I've gotten so interested in the area of economics by working with Paul Romer, that I actually left the company to go get a graduate degree in economic. So I was like, Hey, Pauline's for all the inspiration, I'm going to see you later now.
And so I went back to school full time and got my masters in international and development economics from the university of San Francisco. Um, the re and that led into some teaching. So as part of the field work that I had to do, I was in Kazakhstan, uh, moved to Kazakhstan for the summer, thought it was going to be there about six weeks.
And while being hosted at one of the universities, they said, listen, um, we saw the, have an MBA from finance along the way. I'd earned an MBA in finance from duke university. Just picked one up. It's one up. And, uh, so we have a professor who's going out on maternity leave. Can you teach finance? And that's how they asked me.
They're like, can you teach finance? And I said, well, I don't know, but I'm happy to give it a try. And so I started at six months and that was my first teaching position, uh, in a university in El Monte context. Called Chinati university. And that's kind of like kickstart at my true education kind of side of my, of my life.
And so throughout the course of the work that I've done, I've always picked up kind of teaching positions and either as an adjunct or a part-time professor, because I've just enjoyed the teaching and it's also. Useful for me from purely from an economic standpoint, as I was starting sales quality, having some teaching jobs helped to fill the gap as I was transitioning out of my full-time work with companies and into running sales quality as a company.
So that's kind of the, the teaching side of the journey.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: .Yeah. I think, you know, um, I love the way you just kind of threw in. Oh. And I had, I picked up an MBA along the way, so it's like too, um, So given sort of your expertise in both business and in teaching, right. It seems like sales quality. I was sort of the perfect blend of these two areas of expertise.
Um, so I'm super interested in hearing more about this. Like, do you mind sharing the story of how, you know, sales quality.
Scott Sambucci: Sure. Sure. So, um, let me, let me think about the context here. Like time-wise. So I was, like I said, I was at this company called Appliaand then left to get a master's degree in economics.
And so I thought, well, I'm kind of done with sales. You know, I was at this point, like my late twenties going into my early thirties and it felt like I've done the sales thing. I've done the startup. Now I want to do finance. So I thought, you know, I'm going to go work at, on a trading desk or I'm going to, I interviewed with some venture capital companies.
I thought like this could be my thing next. And I really just couldn't get any traction in interviewing for those positions. Mostly because at that point I was actually too old to be an analyst. Yes. Because you're like, oh, you're like 29 years old. Like there, ain't no way you're going to work 80 hours a week.
Like the 22 year olds and, uh, venture capital, you know, I got a couple offers, but yeah. You know, really as interesting as I thought it was going to be. So now I'm sitting there going like, great. I just spent two years getting the economics degree and what am I going to do? Well, I just went back into the startup world and started working with Altos research.
So at the time it was just a company founder who was a guy named Mike Simons. And it was a full-time company founder with two co-founders who were still part-time at their day jobs at Motorola. And I was the first kind of non founder and I started running the sales operations. As they were getting off the ground.
So as we started growing that company, we got past the million dollar mark and we're getting towards the $2 million mark. We realized like, well, we got to build like a team. I can't run sales. I can't do sales on my own. So we started adding customer success. People support people, a couple of salespeople, and I realized, well, if we're going to manage these people, I've got to teach them something.
What am I going to teach him? How am I going to teach them how to do the things I do? And so I just started keeping Evernote file. Of what I would teach, what I need to teach this team that I've been growing over the course of about six months. And the notes led to a book that I decided to self publish called startup selling how to sell if you really, really have to.
And you don't know how I decided to self publish that book. And then that book. Some workshops. So people like, oh, we heard that you have this book and why don't you come teach a sales workshop? So I did, uh, as an example, I did a sales workshop at the 2013 lean startup conference. I think it would, might've been one of the first lean startup conferences that were out there.
And after that it led one workshop led to another. And after every workshop, I was like, this is pretty fun. You know, I get to go out and teach and you make a little money. And after each workshop I always had one or two people afterwards would come up to me and say like, that was a really great workshop.
I learned so much. I was just wondering, do you do any coaching where you can kind of help me implement some of these ideas? And I was like, uh, well, yes, of course I do some coaching. Yes, yes I do. And, uh, so I kind like started building up a little bit of a coaching practice on the side, just doing some one-on-one stuff with a couple of startups.
And so it was always this kind of Scott side gig for me while I was working at Altos and then at, at blend, which is a lending software, uh, startup. And, uh, eventually it got to the point where I felt like, you know, I've at the point where I decided to leave blend when I was, I was close to 40 years old at the time, just after 40.
And I thought, you know, I've been commuting from Davis to San Francisco, which is two and a half hours each way. And my wife is working on her PhD now at UC Davis. And we had a two two-year-old son at home, and those are the weeks I was technically home because I only went to the home office that didn't include the weeks where I was traveling to Dallas or DC or Chicago and doing meetings and implementations.
And it just got to the point where I'm like, all right, I got to make some life decisions here and I'd built up enough, uh, kind of customers and clients on the side. And I could fill in the gap with some teeth. Uh, for about six months. And I thought, well, this would, if I was ever going to make the transition out of working out of startups or running my own company as making that my life's work, then this would be at the time to do it.
And so that's what I did. And that was the Genesis of sales quality and brought us to where we are today.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Wow. And so fast forward, like nine years, has it been about nine years
Scott Sambucci: 9 years? Since I kind of started off as like a side gig, 10 years. And it's been five, five and a half years since it's been a full-time.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Got it. So when you, when you set up SalesQualia, like what was your original vision for the company and you know, how, how has that changed if at all?
Scott Sambucci: Yeah, a great question. I was thinking about this a little bit. Initially I thought, well, these workshops are really great because I get to teach, which I love to do the audiences obviously they're there because they paid to be at the workshop.
So they're clearly engaged. Like they want to learn, which is different than a university classroom where you're teaching, like, you know, finance 1 0 1 or principles of economics. And that most of the students are there because it's in the course rec you know, it's in their program requirements. And so I was like, this is fun.
Like I was getting a lot of energy. From being in the room and it felt like people were really in resonating with what I was teaching. So I thought, well, I'll just do these workshops. Like this would be great. I'll just go around and do workshops. And then I started doing the, the numbers on them. Like, well, you make a little bit of money on workshops, but number one, they are tiring because if you want to bring the energy and you do that, like lining up a workshop every day is really tiring.
And you don't make that much money. Even if you make a couple thousand bucks on a workshop, um, it doesn't really scale. And so that's then the, the coaching on the side, I was doing the one-on-one stuff and I thought, well, that's good. But the problem with one-on-one coaching and doing exclusively one-on-one is that I found myself repeating myself.
So I talked to one team on a Tuesday about lead gen. And then I, the next day I talked to another startup and they were like, Hey, so I've got these questions about lead gen. And I'm thinking, man, I really wish you could have been in that conversation yesterday. Cause when I talked to Arthur about Legion and like we knocked it out, we came up with this point.
So that was like something here. There's gotta be something some way to improve the learning experience. And so at first I thought it was to be workshops and some one-on-one. And as it's evolved, what I realized is as much as I need to teach the content and teach the frameworks, the coaching's important for the implementation.
But the, the real key that, that we've learned is that working in small groups, With our clients. I mean, of course we do some one-on-ones when we need to, if we had to like pull apart a deal or talk about a hiring situation, but for a good chunk of the weekly calls that we run, we do them in an office hours environment, just like you would in a university classroom.
And you say, Hey, if you got, if you're getting stuck on the homework problems, come to office hours, I'll be there from 12 to two pop in, ask your question, and then you might be some other students that are gonna ask questions. You didn't think you even knew to ask. And so when we'd run into this group program in this group environment, what I found.
I actually only spend about the team and I only spend about half of the time actually doing the teaching because now Arthur is there with bill and they're like, oh, I had that situation last week when I was in that situation, this was what I did. Or, Hey, have you tried using this system? Or, Hey, when we run our demos, we do it this way.
And so as much as people in our, in our program are learning from us, they're also. From each other. And that's where I think there's a lot more magic that happens. And so that evolution is something I didn't anticipate when I started off doing, thinking of it as like teaching and coaching. I thought it all had to run through.
And I realized that the clients can teach each other just as much as, as we can teach them.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. Yeah. That's cool. That is so true. Sharing, best practices sharing with each other is such a big part of, I think if things that you're doing, things that I'm doing, things that I think a lot of folks were doing especially last year, which is sort of the community aspect.
Um, when I think about sales coaching, right? You tacked on coaching, but also a lot more than just coaching, but it's, it seems like it's so broad. Right. And it's just, but it's so critical, right. For teams, right. To be able to actually grow and scale, but also to start to optimize, be more efficient, be more effective.
Um, so what are some of the key areas that you focus on when you work with some of these early startups?
Scott Sambucci: Yeh well, I mean, it's interesting cause it, it, the starting point oftentimes can be in different places based on where teams are. You know, if a team is under a million dollars in revenue, really what the focus really needs to be there is around building repeatable process.
Like how are you generating leads in a predictable way? Are you qualifying those leads? How are you qualifying those through a rubric? That guarantees, you know, to some degree that you're not going to be wasting time with a deal, that's going to suck the life out of you for the next six months. How are you on your product demos in a way that's not just like 75.
Points and clicks. And let me tell you why the buttons are blue. And let me tell you about this great integration and that it's more focused on the client's problems as opposed to your product. So a lot of what we teach in a, for those kinds of companies is just getting repeatable systems from top of the funnel all the way through to customer success and, and upselling and cross-selling, uh, because if you get, once you get those repeatable processes work.
Just like a factory. Then once you kind of break through that million dollar mark, and that's typically where a startup will land a series a, then it's about scaling the team. And so that first phase it's like get process repeatability. And then once you have repeatability, then you can hire the team that you need to run those processes.
And just like you would almost like an engineering platform. We say here's our core platform. We're going to hire the best engineers I can, that are going to build on top. Of that platform, the applications and the integrations and everything else, we need to be successful. It works the same way from a sales function is once you have that core process and that core system in place, then you hire people to work those systems and then improve them and grow them and scale them.
So you can make the jump from one to three or three to 10 or 10 to 30. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. So those are kind of the two areas.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. You have an opportunity to work with, like you said, many different kinds of startups at different stages, and then with many different founders, what are some of, um, I guess what are some, or what are some of the things that you are seeing founders doing wrong when it comes to establishing the revenue team?
Right. And some of these processes that you're talking about. Yeah. How much time do you know?
Scott Sambucci: Well, I think the, there's a couple of things, a couple of things that come up, um, and the first is. It's going to sound odd to say this, but one of the biggest mistakes I see is that founders hire salespeople too soon.
And they also wait too long to hire. So let me explain those. So oftentimes what we'll see is a founder that, you know, does the founder led selling, you know, they get you what we call the first 10 customers. Yeah. It's grit and hustle and network and hard work and whatever it takes to get those first 10.
And that's where hustle stops. You know, you can't really scale hustle and you have to move into more of a systems approach. And the challenge that we see, or the mistake I see too often is that a founder. We'll immediately jump to hiring a more senior account executive, somebody with a big Rolodex or they'll hire like, oh, we got 10 customers.
Now I need a VP of sales and you really don't need that level of person. Uh, what you really need is somebody that can help you implement some of those basic systems to get some repeatability around lead gen and your pipeline and your customer success. So when I say them, the one mistake they make is they hire too soon.
It means they usually hire a sales leader or a VP of sales or somebody that's more senior thinking, well, I got the first 10. Now I'm just going to hand this over to somebody else and let them figure out how to like, make this repeatable and scalable. I'm going to go back to being fast. And that's really a mistake because what you need to do is build that process yourself and then hire the team.
That's going to run that process. So that's what I mean by oftentimes they hire too soon. Now the opposite of that is sometimes they wait too long to hire meaning that they are continuing to take on. Some of the, I don't want to say lower level tasks, but more of the repeatable tasks as it relates to sales.
So it could be things like, you know, sending out outbound emails or doing lead research or even customer support. You know, you can start to see some repeatability around things like customer support, get, find somebody who can handle those, those requests, at least 80% of them. When it's lead gen, once you've got your messaging, at least partway down, find somebody who can run that out there.
Secrets and help you focus on the higher value parts of the sale, which is maybe running the demos or answering, uh, objections and questions you're getting from top executives or talking through the product roadmap. So the technical team on the other side feels comfortable with the integrations that are coming, because those are the only, the you're the only person in the world.
Typically they can answer those questions. So they tend to take on too much for too long. And so I always look forward as like, as soon as you see any, any incident of repeatability, like, oh, this feels kind of mundane is kind of sucks. And Friday night, and I'm like doing this thing on LinkedIn, it's like, good, great, that's good sign.
You know, start doing loom videos of yourself doing that thing, and then go find a part-time person to help. Sales development or customer success or some other part of your business.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Got it. That's really good advice. Um, so maybe we dig a little bit deeper into that and talk about how does your program specifically really help set them on that right.
Path for success? I think you touched on it a little bit, but what are some of the things, I guess in your program that you say, Hey, this, this will really set you up for success. Put you on the right path.
Scott Sambucci: Well, I think, and this, this is actually one of the things that gets challenging for us, because if people think about what we do and they think sales, like you're going to help me get sales.
It's like, yeah, we're going to help you get sales. It's like, great. I've got this pipeline. And like, I just need to get like three of these deals across the line, by the end of Q2. And then everything's going to be great. And the challenge there is like, well, first of all, like, I don't even know if your pipeline is qualified.
You think you've got these deals in the pipeline? How many? Like, okay, great. You have what you think is a big, healthy pipeline. I'm like big and healthy are not always the same thing. Like sometimes smaller is better. You need to disqualify deals out or you're hoping too much. And so one of the things we ask all of our require all of our clients do, even before we invite them into the program is we have them run an assessment around what we call the nine sales accelerators.
So this goes back to the systems approach around prospecting and pipeline and your paying customers. When you think about everything from filling the funnel all the way through to customer success. We think we think of them as like nine basic machines that work within your sales process. And so we have our, our founders do this diagnostic on their own, so they can kind of score themselves.
Where are they strong? Where are they weak, where they have gaps. And that helps us help them see exactly where we need to focus the work, as opposed to just like running to us and expecting room to like, you know, magic, poaching and sales are going to like magically pop up. Um, so where, where we usually start is with that assessment so that we can focus in on, okay.
Based on what you're telling me, it sounds like you're not getting enough leads into the top of the funnel. Let's spend the next three months focusing on that top of funnel, get an outbound sequence that works so that you have a consistent flow of leads instead of this trickle of inbound that's happening here and there.
Uh, so that's, that's always where we start is really kind of focusing in on what are the core systems you need to build? Where do you have those gaps? Let's get those working because then later on, if you want to grow the team, it's going to be easy to show them what their jobs and responsibilities and roles got it.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Got it. I love that nine step approach off to take a look at. I have to dive into that deeper and take a look at it more. So as you know, like me, I are like, you, I'm a big believer, obviously in sharing experience, expertise and knowledge with others, you know, whether that's through a formal partnership or just, you know, friendly one-on-one conversations, there's just such an appetite for learning from others.
Right. And sharing best practices. Um, so what are you seeing in terms of trends in the market? Like, do you see more businesses moving in this direction of bringing in external. Expertise, um, to really help supplement learning and training. Cause it seems to make a lot of sense, right. Versus recreating the wheel each and every time.
Scott Sambucci: Yeah. Well I think, I mean the sales training industry is that around for decades now. Right? I mean, I remember I used to listen to Zig Ziglar tapes on audio cassette when I was in the car. Uh, so, and, and he, wasn't the first sales trainer out there. Um, what I am seeing though is certainly a movement towards code.
Which is different training is sort of like, okay, we're going to show up. We're going to learn this class in a couple of days and get some free day goals and then forget 90% of the stuff that I learned in three days. Uh, whereas coaching is more of this engagement over time. And if you think about, you know, whatever that analogy might think of, whether it's sports or, you know, like Beyonce has a voice coach, right?
Like she's one of the best in the world, but she doesn't say, well, now I, now I've got my voice the way I want it. I'm good. But she continues to work with that coach because she knows things are gonna change. And things are going to evolve. And the same with, you know, with a professional athlete, they have coaches that work with them over time.
And there's a really great book that came out about two years ago called trillion dollar coach. I don't know if you've heard of this book. Uh, it's about a guy named bill Campbell who was among other things. He was a formerly the CEO of Intuit and he became a coach, a business coach for the team at Google.
Uh, Eric Schmidt, a surrogate and the rest of the team there. He coached Steve jobs. He coached. Yeah. I mean, he's basically coached every, uh, he's coached a Mercer Meyer. Like he's basically coached every significant. Tech CEO that you can think of, which is why the book is called trillion dollar coach, because impact has been that big.
And so I think the more that, you know, what, you don't have to be Eric Schmidt to get a coach. And in fact, if you're not Eric, that's even why, even more reason why you should write. But that tells me like, if, and he was very resistant to it at first, he's like, no, I got this, you know, I've been a CEO before.
I don't really need this help. Who is this guy? Bill king. And it took him a little while to get comfortable with it until he realized the value of having somebody that's working with him and his team every day to help them see the blind spots, to help them ask questions. They didn't think to ask to really, you know, hold them to a higher level, a higher standard that they might help them.
They might hold themselves to. And I think as, as that sort of sense of, Hey, just because you're an entrepreneur, doesn't mean you have to do everything on your own. I think it's, like you said, going out and finding people to help you. Along the way, because let's face it. You, you have this runway literally and figuratively for your company.
And so you can't really afford in a lot of cases to be this, do it yourself mindset. Because the length of time it takes to DIY, it might be too long or it might be too late. And sometimes we get those calls from founders like, Hey, I'm three months away. I'm going to be out of cash. I've got to connect.
You know, these deals in the pipeline that raised the next bridge round and I'm just like, look, man, we're good, but we can't work miracles here. Like you should have called me nine months ago. Yeah. And so, um, so I do think that there's, there's a, uh, a larger movement towards coaching versus training. And, um, I think that's a good thing.
I think that shows a level of emotional maturity. Permeating throughout Silicon valley.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. I love that. There's definitely a distinction between training and coaching. Um, and that's a good analogy with some of the folks who are are at the top of their game. They continue to want to improve right. To stay there.
Scott Sambucci: That's why they're at the top of their game. Right. You know, bill Clinton, is that a coach? Beyonce? I mentioned is that a coach? I mean, when I hear people like Eric Schmidt and Steve jobs of how to coach. Makes sense to me. I mean, I do this ultra running that you mentioned, and I, I mean, this is like for recreation, it's a cost center for me.
It's not even like I get anything out of it other than, you know, late nights on the trail and, and, you know, things like that. But I pay a coach and this guy that I work with is one of the best ultra runners that has ever lived. Like he's like, if you look at his resume over the last 15, 20 years, it's like first place, first place, first place, we'll record this.
And I pay for that because I could go and train on my own and I could probably figure a lot of stuff out of my arm, but I only can run two races, two big races a year. So if I'm going to spend that much time and effort to go run a a hundred mile race or a 200 mile race, I want to do my very best. Uh, I've got a race coming up in a month's time from today.
It's June, June 26 is the Western state. Uh, 100, which is the most prestigious ultra race ultra running race in the world. And it's a a hundred mile race. And there were almost 7,000 people that were trying to get into this race for 300. Yeah. Oh, wow. You got a spot because of a lottery system and way that they award, uh, the tickets and the spots into this race.
So this is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity. And, um, and I thought to myself, like if I have one chance to run this race and I want to break 24 hours in running this, this a hundred miles in under 24 hours, like I'm going to take full advantage of this opportunity. Cause I can't afford not to take advantage.
And so that's why I invested in this coach and he's got me doing all kinds of crazy stuff. I mean, before we got on the call, I was on the floor doing lunches between calls and doing all kinds of weird calisthenics. When I was, took my dog to the dog park this morning and like, um, the dogs running around and I'm sitting there doing planks on the grass while the other dog owners are talking to each other.
But that's the thing that he makes me do that. That's why I pay for him to do. Cause he's going to ask me, did you do your training? It's not just how many miles did you run? And so I think it's just for me, it's, it's worked for me in my life and having coaches, not just in business, but in personal. And so I'm obviously a fan of that and I'm biased towards it, but it's worked for me and I just believe that everyone should have a,
Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that.
I love that. Um, so let's talk about, you know, the topic of learning, right? You released a new book called stop hustling, start scaling not too long ago. Um, do you mind sharing more about the book and kind of what others might be able to expect to learn and take away?
Scott Sambucci: Yeah, the, uh, pull a copy off the shelf.
So the subtitle, it might even be more important than the main title, which is ramp up your B2B startups, repeatable revenue with the Q framework. So it's a lot of what we talked about a little bit earlier, Roslyn, which is, you know, as a founder, you know, most people go out there and they hustle and that hard work and they get the early customers, they get the revenue going and flowing, but they don't have systems in place to get more.
Repeat. And more scalable sales. And so this is a place where oftentimes as founders, we'll kind of hit that ceiling, they can't figure out like I got these 10 customers, why can't I get the next 30? And a lot of times it's because they don't have the core systems that they need to have. They don't have these nine sales accelerators in place.
And so I wrote the book and it's designed as more of a handbook and more than anything where every chapter walks through a specific question that is designed to help a founder interrogate their own sales process. So there are seven questions in the Q framework, the Q stands for questions. And so the book is designed that if, if a founder walks through these seven questions and does the activities, the end of the book that will help them build that sort of version one dot O of a repeatable sales process.
And so I, it was important to me that the book wasn't just yet another sales book on shelf that people read like, oh, I got some good ideas. Maybe I'll implement a couple of them. I wanted it to be a handbook I wanted. A go-to book. Um, so every, every chapter even has worksheets and we have a companion website that goes with the book for people can download the worksheets and watch a video and see how to use the worksheets.
So I want it to be functional and tactical and not just like a bunch of theories.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Wow. That's great. I'm going to have to read that too. I'm going to go pick that one up. Well, good. Um, so we know as I think about the revenue engine podcast, right? I think about. You know, I always hope that others will be able to learn how to accelerate revenue growth, right.
And really power the revenue engine. So from your perspective, what are the top three things? Maybe it's two or three things that all CEOs and founders should be thinking about today. Like to really establish the right framework for growing their business. I think you touched on some of it already throughout our conversation, but are there two or three things that you say, Hey, you got to be thinking about this.
Scott Sambucci: Yeah, there's I think there's three there's three to come to mind. Uh, so the first one is, uh, focusing on the problem and focusing on your market. So, you know, one of the, I've heard this quote before, I think it was attributed to David Packard first, which is, you know, startups or companies rarely die of starvation.
They dive into jail. And so too often, I think companies would go out and founders would go out and yeah, the Tam is huge and we want to sell to healthcare systems and we want to sell the telecom. We want to sell to banks and because they all have the same problem and it's really not the same version of the problem.
And so the first thing that I would always advise people is get as narrow as possible. Uh, narrowing your niche. Naturally. When I, when I was at blend, when we were first starting up selling to banks and mortgage lenders, there are 8,000 mortgage lenders in the U S we only sold to the top 100 for the first three years.
So like the version of the lending problem, that Wells Fargo. And prime lending has. And first Republic has, is way different than golden one credit union down the street. So let's focus on that, solve that problem. So focus on the problem, focused on a market as narrow as possible. Um, the second thing is lead gen like make lead generation in everyday activity.
I can't tell you how often when we dig into what's happening within some of our clients. Some of the startups. We asked them, like, what are you doing for lead gen? Well, we get some inbound stuff where we do a little bit on LinkedIn or we run a webinar here and there, but it's not an everyday activity.
And so I think like making that, if you don't have leads like that is literally the lifeblood of your business, you've got to have a lead generation engine and you got to make lead generation in everyday activity. Even if it's like, I'm going to sit down on LinkedIn and do my 20, I'm going to send out 20 connection requests or I'm going to send out 20 messages to people like do your 20 every year.
On a consistent basis because that will lead to the results you need. So making lead-generation and everyday activity and the third thing, and this is really where I think a lot of founders get maybe a little bit intimidated because they're selling to bigger companies is they fail to control the sale and control in English.
You know, it's like controlling is a bad thing, but in selling to the enterprise, we have to remember as a startup, most companies that are, are evaluating our solutions. They've never bought something like we have produced. Maybe they never bought a car like ours. It's not a copy machine. It's not office furniture.
It's not a CRM that they've already bought once or twice in the past. There's no, they have no way of evaluating it. They have no idea of like who in the company should actually be involved with this decision. And that's why a lot of deals go dark. You do these great demos and people are all excited and you get lots of flaws and everything goes dark it's because the customers are actually lost.
They don't know what to do next. And I think it's really important for founders to get clear on and leading the sale and taking control of the sale and say, listen, I'm going to show you the demo. And after the demo, here are the next three steps that we want to think about taking, because based on our experience in selling to people, just like you are going to have to get the risk team involved, we're going to have to get the it person involved.
Uh, who can we talk to in procurement that can give us your checklist to make sure we meet all your guidelines and like taking control of the sale is always important, but it's even more. As you're selling a new product in a new market because your customers just don't know how to buy yours.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense.
I didn't think about that actually. That does make a lot of sense because it's a startup new product, new market, probably something completely brand new to the
Scott Sambucci: person listening. We're replacing manual process in a lot of cases or spreadsheets or SharePoint. You know, some, you know, antiquated system that may have been built in-house and pulled together and they just don't have a way of evaluating our software.
They don't have a way of evaluating return on investment or how to think about implementation or what questions to ask. I remember what I was, we were selling to first Republic bank when I was at blend. Um, we met with their, I think it was their risk officer at the time. And we brought our risk officer with us.
And we sat down in this meeting and that they had this long conversation about risk and security and compliance. And I was just kinda like nodding along. Cause I didn't really know what's happening, but I pretend that I did, he was like a good sales pitch and we left, we left the building, we got to the street and I turned to John.
I was like, John, I don't think they bought too many cloud-based solutions in the past. This is 2013, 2014. So cloud was so new. It was still new to a lot of people. And he said, they've never bought cloud-based. Solutions before. And I said, how do you know? And he said, because if that person had bought a cloud, if they had bought a cob they solution before that person would not have been, excuse me, the questions that they were asked.
And so it's is just like a real eye-opener to me, because here we are on the cutting edge of we're building this cloud based solution. That's going to be wonderful. And meanwhile, the people inside the organization that are responsible for evaluate. The product evaluating the solution. Like they don't even know what to evaluate or what the checklist is supposed to look like.
So we have to remember that as we're going out and selling in order to make sure that we control the setup.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that. I love that. That's really good advice. Um, okay. So looking back right at your career, uh, what are the things, or is there anything that you wish you knew earlier, or maybe you would do differently if you could do it all over again?
Scott Sambucci: Oh, man, that's a tough one. Um, my wife might have a different, different opinions on things. Um, I think, I mean, on the one hand I would tell myself, like, don't wait until you're 40 years old to go out on your own. I mean, I felt like, I mean, I enjoyed working in startups and I enjoyed that process, but I had, even in my early twenties, I had ideas for companies.
Yeah. I was always worried and gunshot and I came from my parents are great parents, but just more conservative. My dad was an accountant. My mom was a teacher. He struck out and he like, he went out and owned a business for about four years and it did. Okay. And he sold it and he made a little money, but he wasn't like the, you know, the classic entrepreneur type.
And you know, this notion of like going out and doing something on your own. It was just not something that was in my, kind of like in my childhood, it was more like, get out of college, get a job. You got to get a job. And. That's you know, that programming sits in and, and again, like it led to all kinds of huge opportunities.
And, you know, I worked at Pearson. That's how I got my MBA. They actually paid for that MBA for me, you know, it got me to Silicon valley. I got to work at blend and work with this phenomenal startup. That's now, you know, unicorn status. So it's hard to say like, oh, cause if I had started earlier, I maybe would've missed some of those opportunities.
But on the other hand, one of the things that I do try to teach my son as like, look, man, like you can be re you can be in control. Of what you want to do, do the things you want to do. If you want to make art, go make art. If you want to go sell that on the street, you know, and set up a table, then go sell your drawings.
If you want to pick apples off or the oranges off the tree, Ms. Richie did this weekend, anyone outside in Scotland for 10 cents each, right. Go do that. You know, it's it's you go do the thing that you want to do. Because your best self is going to be that personal expression of the things that makes you have happiness.
And don't worry so much about the, you know, where am I, how am I going to pay rent? Because you know, let's face it. We live in a truly remarkable world, especially here in the United States where, you know, there's plenty of cushion around us that most people don't have, but it's easy to kind of get fearful of failure or what are people going to say?
So I think the biggest advice I would give myself is, you know, start early. And that entrepreneurial journey, cause it's been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's great. That's Really good advice. Um, so thank you so much, Scott, for joining me, but as we wrap and before I let you go, um, two things that I always ask this of all my guests, I know you've listened to the podcast and you already know one, what is the one thing about Scott that others would be surprised?
And I think we've covered a lot on your background. So I don't know if you have any more surprises, but two and two. What is the one thing you want everyone to know about you?
Scott Sambucci: I don't know if this is surprise, but I thought it would be a fun, little fact to share about the one thing that others might be surprised to learn.
Um, I don't know about you, but we've had some pandemic purchases that you may not have thought you were going to buy pre pandemic. So, um, our pandemic purchases include a Ford F-150 crew cab pickup. So that's been a super fun vehicle to have to go out on the trail and go camping and do all kinds of cool stuff.
We've also added a dog, six chickens and a coat as part of got a truck, a dog, six chickens and a goat. So that's, my wife is responsible for all of the animals and even the truck, you know, she's like we have this older car. Not doing so well. And she's like, I'm tired, I'm tired of this one. We gotta get, you know, we've been talking about a truck for years.
We should go get a truck. So those are our pandemic purchases.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Cool. Um, and need to know about this goat before I let you go to the next question. Why the goats, chickens. I get the dog. Of course. I understand my dogs. Um,
Scott Sambucci: Is it, my wife, she just has always loved animals from the time she was very, very young.
She in fact, wanted to be a veterinarian when she was very young, she used to read encyclopedias about books. So she's just always, always loved animals. And so, uh, the chickens are pretty easy to maintain. You can, yeah, you can have chickens in the backyard and keep them in a chicken run. So you can have those here.
Uh, a friend of ours bought a farm that was his pandemic. He decided to buy a farm. Uh, it's like, it's not a huge farm. It's like four acres, but it's got some land and it's good friends of ours. They, you know, the two of them are always in cahoots about what the next thing is going to be for the farm. What needs to happen next on the farm.
She spends as much time over there. She does here. I think sometimes she's actually there right now at the farm building a goat pen where we're going to keep the goats. So she, and he were just talking about like, oh, we should get goats because goats are a fun thing to have in the farm. And so a mutual friend of theirs actually raises goats in a couple of towns over.
And so they went and visited some girls. And I met them over there and this little baby goat about 20 pounds and just adorable, my wife is holding this goat and I thought, all right, I guess we're getting to go farm. So that's, that's how they go.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Thank You. Yeah. How can you resist baby animals?
Scott Sambucci: That was it.
I mean, yeah, it's good. It's pretty cool.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: What about the one thing that you want everyone to know about you?
Scott Sambucci: Um, this is a tough one. I mean, it's from, you know, kind of normal stuff. Um, yeah, I got a nine year old son that I'm really proud of. I've been married 15 years and really proud of that. Um, we talked about the ultra running and the distance, the distance events, I think.
Um, but I think it was like the one thing I would want people to know about me is that, you know, as hard as I work at business for what is, you know, generating revenue and growth. Helping companies. I do that for profit. Um, I do these ultra marathons for costs. So like as crazy as I am and doing in the sense, like I'd pay to do these races and I pay for this coach.
So I just tell people, like, if you see me doing these ultra marathons and you see how hard I work at doing something that costs me money, imagine how hard the team and I would. When your pay as well. There's so many metaphors in doing the ultra, running all the lessons, you know, I'm out there on the trail.
I just learned so many things about myself and how to be patient, how to deal with problems and how to deal with pain and in a good way. Um, and I just see a lot of metaphors there. And so even in some of my LinkedIn posts and podcasts, I talk about ultra running and I call them lessons from the trail.
So, um, I do the ultra running is my wife tells me as a person and she says, that's how I express myself. So, I don't know. I don't know if that's a specific answer, but, um, that's the one I came up with.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Amazing. Thank you so much. Well, thank you so much, Scott, for joining me, um, and just super, super grateful, and obviously very appreciative of you sharing your story, all of this lots of great tips and expertise and experience shared.
So I really do appreciate it. I know our listeners are going to be able to learn quite a bit. I'm going to dig into your book. I'm going to pick that up and I will definitely. I we'll definitely provide feedback.
Scott Sambucci: I appreciate the opportunity to be here. It's really an honor. I look at some of the other guests you've had, I'm like, wow, I get to be on that guest list.
So, um, I've listened to many of the episodes and I've learned a lot myself and everyone. So I'm glad to be able to bring some value. And by the way, if people want to grab a copy of the book, there's a, you can download a full and complete version of the piece. Uh, if you go to SalesQualia, a Q U a L I a.com/book, uh, you don't have to buy a copy.
You can just go there and download a full and complete copy in PDF form. So if people want to grab a copy of that, they can do that for free.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: It's amazing. And I know you're on LinkedIn. Are you elsewhere on social?
Scott Sambucci: Pretty much.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah, I am too. I can't manage too many, too many types of social outlets.
Scott Sambucci: Yeah.
Rosalyn Santa Elena: Thank you so much again, Scott.
Scott Sambucci: Thank you.