Ang McManamon, VP of Sales at Crunchbase shares a few pointers on how salespeople can use automation and data to further their selling cycles:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Ang, take us through your best Sales moments and learnings over the years and tell us about your role as VP Sales at Crunchbase
As a VP of Sales at Crunchbase, my role is to lead and manage the sales team to help achieve the company’s revenue goals. I’m responsible for developing and executing the sales strategy, creating and maintaining the sales plan, and driving the sales process from lead generation to closing deals. This involves working closely with other departments, such as marketing, product development, and customer success, to ensure that sales efforts are aligned with the company’s overall goals and objectives. I also oversee the performance of the sales team, providing guidance, coaching, and feedback to help them reach their targets and grow professionally.
I’m thrilled to be a part of Crunchbase’s journey, especially as our prospecting software becomes a key solution for teams that need to close deals and grow revenue in today’s tumultuous economic climate. Our platform is not only a go-to source for data, but also a cutting-edge platform for sales teams, making it easy for organizations to find and engage with customers that are able to buy.
My experience at Crunchbase has been a defining moment in my career and highlights my growth as a leader. I’ve gone from being an individual contributor in a field that used to be dominated by men to leading a sales team. This has sharpened my focus as a leader and pushed me to create an environment that drives both individual and team success. I prioritize working with managers to help team members grow in their careers and find the right balance between business culture and performance. To motivate the team, it’s crucial to understand their individual purpose and make their work meaningful. While this is a challenge, it’s been an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling journey.
For sellers to thrive in sales today (across the hierarchy) what are the top skills that you feel are most underrated but most useful?
Grit is a must-have. It’s a skill that can’t be learned on the job and sets apart the successful from the rest. You either have it or you don’t.
Building relationships is also important in this line of work. Customers want to feel valued, have good conversations, and trust their vendors. This applies to both internal and external relationships. It takes time to build trust and a sense of belonging, but just being a decent human goes a long way.
Flexibility is key in this ever-changing market, especially with the shift to account-based prospecting. This approach focuses on quality over quantity, both in terms of prospects and data used to target them. You need to be prepared to target a smaller group that’s in a position to buy, for example. Many companies are starting to adopt this approach over the outdated “spray and pray” model and soon enough I hope it’ll be universal.
Being data-savvy is also crucial in sales today. You need to use data to drive your sales strategy. Access to information on revenue, buying signals, and firmographics can help you find the best prospects and increase your chances of actually closing deals.
Can you talk about the various ways in which you’ve seen leading brands use competitive enablement / intelligence platforms to beat their competition faster?
The right tools can absolutely help sales teams improve their performance by delivering relevant, actionable data and insights. For example, intent data, and the tools that can analyze it so you can put it to use effectively, is a game-changer when prospecting. Knowing the customer, you’re pursuing and understanding what they’re looking for gives a sales team an obvious edge. But if you want to retain that edge, you can’t fall into the trap of reducing people to numbers.
I’m also a huge fan of tools that encourage self-evaluation across the team, help me and my managers offer productive feedback, and ultimately support the entire teams’ professional growth and development.
When it comes to account-based selling today, what are some of the factors that B2B sellers should keep in mind?
Account-based prospecting isn’t a magic bullet. It’s not a plug-and-play implementation. You need to have an actual strategy in place driven by specific performance standards and KPIs. And while it may take more time and effort initially than “spray and pray,” it will make you more efficient, deepen your relationships with customers, and grow your business’ bottom-line revenue. Patience is key with it.
Sellers also need to recognize the value of internal cross functional collaboration to support their prospecting. For example, establishing a strong relationship between sales and marketing brings together stakeholders who manage complementary aspects of revenue generation, and helps them deliver on their common goals.
A few thoughts on the future of automation in sales and how today’s sellers can optimize more with better automation (tips/best practices)?
Automation absolutely helps, and it makes individuals and teams more efficient. But it can’t do everything the individual can because automating 100% of processes means you’re not actually personalizing. Different accounts have different needs and goals. The human element is required to understand your customer, handle objections, and build meaningful relationships based on trust.
The purpose of automation is not to replace people – it’s to keep people focused on what is most important for the business and its growth.
Salespeople can rely on automation to prospect more effectively by streamlining and simplifying the most tedious and time-consuming tasks, like keeping your CRM up-to-date. Automation can also help a salesperson find new leads. Crunchbase’s Similar Companies feature, for example, uses machine learning to help dealmakers discover companies they should know about and prospect to base on the profile they are already viewing.
Expect more automation this year, fueled by the broader AI craze, to help salespeople make prospecting more efficient and effective.
We’d love to hear about some of Crunchbase’s latest or upcoming enhancements and more on how you feel the B2B sales/salestech market is set to look like over the years?
One recent feature people are excited about is the Crunchbase Chrome Extension, which brings Crunchbase’s robust company and contact data directly to key websites and tools, eliminating the need for salespeople to toggle between dozens of tools/tabs when researching and qualifying prospective companies.
In 2023 and beyond, Crunchbase’s investments will go towards advancing our machine learning capabilities, amplifying its value and impact by delivering enhanced automation and personalization to customers. This includes providing more accurate recommendations on accounts that fit a company’s ideal customer profile or share similarities with recent deals. We’re also adding millions of new contacts so dealmakers can reach more decision-makers and close more deals.
More generally, with all the economic uncertainty in tech and the economy at large right now, companies will rightfully be super-cautions about where and how they’re spending. Everyone is analyzing their tools’ impact on ROI. Crunchbase is very focused on solutions that positively impact the bottom line at a time when customers need to grow revenue.
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