In episode five of the VA Partners Sales and Marketing Podcast, our host Randy Hendriks interviews Paul Mulko, Director of Sales and Marketing at Fly Easy. They discuss the “a day in the life” of a start up sales and marketing director. Paul discussed the need to wear many hats to get the job done, common sales pitfalls, and the importance of building relationships in sales.
Below is a summary of their discussion. Note the time markers so that you can easily jump to that point in the podcast to listen to the entire topic.
0:43 A background on Fly Easy.
Fly Easy is a software company in the business aviation space. They’ve built instant quote tools for operator’s websites, empty flight distribution, and many other tools to solve their customer’s pain points.
2:02 Typical Day at Fly Easy in regards to working with clients at different stages.
Paul wears a number of different hats in the startup environment. Usually he spends time prospecting, creating marketing content, working on the website, and client follow ups. Their sales process is tight and with outlined tasks depending on the engagement.
3:12 How marketing is tied in to support the sale.
Paul loves to use MailChimp and any tools that allow him to capture email addresses of a prospect. He takes time to dig into which email addresses are engaging in terms of the sales funnel, and uses this information to prioritize his follow-ups.
3:52 Do you engage with cold calling?
Usually at the beginning of the sales cycle.
4:27 Once you’ve got the right prospect, what’s your next step?
Change the conversation into a ‘fire-side’ chat as soon as possible. How do I turn this into an emotional chat rather than a sales pitch? This gets the client in the right context so that they’ll listen and trust what you’re about to say.
6:08 What to do when things get stuck.
The first thing to do is understand why the engagement is stuck: is it not the right time for them? The wrong person for the account? Next is to understand what kind of content they prefer to engage with in the email campaigns. Build them into another email campaign for people in similar situations: eventually everyone converts!
7:41 In the sales space, what do you think other people are doing wrong?
Talking too much doesn’t work, though it’s hard to recognize in your self. If the client isn’t talking, then they’re not being sold. While it is important to hear their pain points, having the client talk about personal things is useful for calls down the line.
9:29 What are some failures that you’ve experienced? What did you learn?
Most of Paul’s failures have been in larger companies where he hasn’t gotten the traction he wanted, and wasn’t able to understand why. The biggest mistake to make is being offended, especially because you may not have all the information as to why the interaction isn’t progressing, such as internal problems in the company. If you remain unoffended, you are much more likely to get that sale in the long run.
11:05 What are some lessons you’ve learned from failures at Fly Easy?
As a subscription platform, for us a failure would be an unsubscription. We need to make sure clients are having ongoing success.
12:01 Are there any sales materials you’ve listened to/read/heard recently that have been interesting?
The CEO of Jan Kelley agency, Zig Ziglar, mostly old-school sales guys. There are some newer ones like Grant Cardone. Most of Paul’s sales input have been through peers or company leaders that he’s been a part of.
13:28 What are somethings you do for trade shows, or getting the word out there and connecting with people?
Paul goes to a lot of trade shows, not always with a booth. Trade shows can be difficult because everyone comes with their own agenda. One solution he found was to go around to each booth, take a nice photo of their team using a camera with a fish-eye lens, and ask for their card to send them the photo. This created an opportunity for a great, effective follow up.
Telling a story about your business is important at trade shows, and Paul tends to go for more personal setups, like lounges, with fun marketing materials like branded socks.
17:31 What are your steps in product development?
Fly Easy takes an agile approach, releasing a bare-bones product and then builds it up according to customer feedback.
18:28 Tell us about your project, Living Ventures.
This is a passion project for Paul, who believes a community is supported by small business owners. He created a town page that acts like a community magazine with updates and pictures. He approaches local businesses and offers to share contests and content of that business on Living Ventures social media channels.
20:03 Why not help create their own social channels?
That’s an expensive agency model that a small business can’t handle.
20:44 Is there still an email aspect to Living Ventures?
Facebook’s algorithm now relies on ‘borrowed’ media. Only a portion of your audience sees your post unless it does really well. Email addresses inside MailChimp are not borrowed. To get emails from social into MailChimp, Living Ventures runs contents and giveaways that require an email opt-in from local Facebook users.
22:23 Any insights into Facebook’s current problems?
There is no replacement for Facebook. Governing the content on the platform is difficult since Facebook isn’t a media company but a technology company. It’s also left the small business behind. Paul would be eager to give power back to these small businesses who have a greater impact on communities.
24:30 What are your pet peeves around sales and marketing, and what advice do you have to people to save them from any headaches along the way?
The biggest mistake startups make is spending capital on things that aren’t necessary, in order to get revenue. Make sure you aren’t offended by what prospects say or do: let them apologize and it’ll put you in a position of power. As well, the biggest factor in closing a lead is how long you take to respond: you need to talk to them while they’re in the right mindset.
Thanks for listening to the VA Partners Startup Sales and Marketing Podcast. Got a question? Looking for sales or marketing support for your B2B Startup? We’d be happy to have a conversation with you. Connect with us at VAPartners.ca.