The emergence of new communications channels combined with a demographically diverse mix of people who might buy what your startup is selling has made an effective sales strategy a much-needed part of the tech startup mix.
“Gone are the days when enterprise-software sales routinely get closed on country-club golf courses in all-male foursomes,” write Matthew Bellows and Neeraj Agrawal in a recent Forbes piece. “Whether it fills you with nostalgia for three-martini lunches, or revulsion at the way things used to be, we’re waving goodbye for good to the old Glengarry Glen Ross sales model.”
“Easy Internet research means prospects now pre-qualify themselves as sales leads,” they continue. “The rise of new try-before-you-buy models has fundamentally changed both sales pitches and the sequence of steps making up the sales funnel. New sales technologies help automate the rote aspects of sales, like cold calling – but also enable new, personalizing touches that are crucial to closing deals.”
To get some ideas for startup founders to try in this ever-changing sales climate, we talked to Jon Felperin, VP of Las Vegas Chapter of AA-ISP. AA-ISP is a professional organization dedicated exclusively to advancing the profession of Inside Sales.
“My father was a great salesman, and I began tagging along to his sales calls and later at age 10, began helping him run his catering truck servicing industrial businesses in the downtown Los Angeles, area,” Felperin recalls of his early sales experience.
He first became involved with AA-ISP, an organization with 12,000 members globally, because it provides education and advancement of the profession through conferences, accreditation, webinars, a robust knowledge center, and a regional chapter program.
“Each Chapter of AA-ISP is unique according to the city in which it is located and the needs and interests of its members,” he said. “However, we are particularly interested in serving the tech community here in Las Vegas because tech is leading the way, and technology itself is changing the nature of how selling is actually done. We can trace it back to the launch of Salesforce in 1999, sometimes referred to as Sales 2.0.”
Membership in the organization provides access to webinars, the knowledge center, mentor program, a robust service provider directory, the opportunity to interact with 12,000 members from around the globe who are all looking to advance their careers and the Inside Sales profession. Members also received discounted pricing for conferences, like this event happening later this year in Las Vegas.
When asked for sales tips, Felperin went straight to his chapter’s LinkedIn group.

  • “Dealing with rejection and how to overcome objections was suggested by one of our LinkedIn Group members,” said Felperin. “She suggested seeking out strategies and ideas for experts on how to go about finding leads, strong opening value statements and strong closing.”
  • AA-ISP guru, Trish Bertuzzi, references insights from the book Predictable Revenue. She identifies 5 questions that startup founders need to get right when selling: Why listen? Why care? Why change? Why you? Why now?
  • Felperin shared a tip he liked that was first shared by an AA-ISP member in an online download called “Stupid Pet Tricks” for Sales Pros.  The author suggests discovering motivations of a potential client by digging a bit deeper by asking, “Tell me more about that.” This simple sentence really allows a founder to learn more about the pain points of the customer.

Felperin says in the future he hopes to align the AA-ISP local chapter efforts with Meetups at the The Innevation Center and Work In Progress, and even partner with and Startup Grind.
“We want to add value and be a resource, not just be another event,” he said.
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