Accelerate 2021 is a 2-day virtual summit that features 15 speakers, including some of the most respected leaders from the sales tech industry and the most loved sales coaches we have all admired and learned from. Accelerate is on Dec 14th and 15th. Click here to register.
This is a blog series where we examine speakers from Accelerate. Today’s featured speaker is AJ Bruno, the CEO, and Co-founder at QuotaPath.
AJ Bruno has an impressive record of being a commercial multi-engine pilot, an entrepreneur who has taken teams from 0-$25 million ARR, and the co-founder of QuotaPath - a powerful commission tracking/management application.
Here’s an interview with AJ Bruno where he speaks about the shift in sales, his greatest win in sales, and a lot more.
Q. How do you think sales has changed over the past 5 years? What do you predict will happen in the next 5 years?
I would say individual contributors have more power now versus 5 years ago. Even though, as sales leaders, we create predictable A to Z sales methodology, a lot of individual sales reps are able to use tools that their coworkers or colleagues don't have access to. They are trying to one-up, or at least get ahead.
And because of that, they treat their team more like a leaderboard. When you’re in the office, it's very easy to do an over-the-shoulder check-in on your colleagues to see what people are using and share those types of tools. I think people who were traditionally inside sales teams, who are working from home are able to work in a completely different manner than they were when they were in the office.
As for the next 5 years, I think there's going to be a mass commoditization of sales tech tools and basically a mass consolidation of best practices. I think of sales tech a little bit like MarTech in 2010 to 2013, where you had tools coming out for account-based marketing and people were trying to figure out what they meant. I see something similar with product-led sales and the rise within that industry.
Q. What is the one piece of advice you'd like to give to people who are just starting out in sales?
Don't take anything for granted. I think it's a good time to start in sales, but markets quickly change and move. So don't get too comfortable, always be ready to learn and strive to get better.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about your greatest win in sales, something that still motivates you to date?
Well first off, convincing my wife to marry me. That was quite the sale. But seriously, there are a few different types of wins that I think about: there’s individual sales, management, and then there's company-wide sales. For company-wide, that’s easy - my first million-dollar month at my last company, TrendKite. I think about that month a lot, how we got there, and what it meant for the long term.
Q. Okay, let’s pretend this is a cold call, what’s your go-to cold calling opener? :)
I try not to speak as fast as I typically speak and I try to level set a little bit. My go-to is really just to bring a little bit of credibility to it. So I think I would typically start with -
“Hey, I'm the Founder and CEO of a company called QuotaPath...” I start with that line just so it doesn't feel like a typical cold call. I want to be clear that there's a very specific reason that I’m reaching out to them. Because I wouldn't be wasting my time if it wasn’t important.
Q. How can you onboard sales reps quickly and efficiently? Is it possible?
I think you just need a really bad-ass enablement team and do that early on. Often I equate this to RevOps. 5 years ago, that was a role that not a lot of early-stage startups or companies included. I think sales enablement is something similar today.
You have all these different remote teams - SDRs, new businesses, customer success teams, account management, etc. Getting them all to speak the same language is going to become more and more difficult.
Q. What will you be talking about at Accelerate 2021?
At Accelerate, I’ll be diving deep into the ‘SDR Compensation’
Q. A book that you recently read and would recommend to others?
I just read Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets. I'd recommend that to everyone. With thousands and thousands of startups coming into the marketplace every year, category creation and design are more important now than ever, if you want to create a differentiated company.
Catch AJ Bruno live on the 14th - 15th of December! This is a session you don’t want to miss. Register now, you still have time: Save my seat!