The Lunch & Learn on Sales & Business Development was well attended. A panel of executives, who have decades of experience in business development and sales in their respective companies and industries, discussed best practices and techniques for effective selling.
A key takeaway was that if you don’t have customers willing to pay you for your product and/or service, you don’t have a business.
This panel was sponsored by Salesforce.com, a Web-based platform to manage your customer information so you can spend less time handling data and more time with customers. The event started with a video promotion by Salesforce.com.
Aruni Gunasegaram, Director of ATI Operations, moderated the panel. Gunasegaram is the founder/CEO of ATI alumnus company Isochron Data Corporation, sold in 2002, and founder/CEO of Babble Soft, sold in 2009.
Jason J. Mathias, Senior Director of North America Sales at HomeAway, Inc. spoke about the importance of building a good sales force and operational efficiency for the B2C category and that the value-proposition and coordination between the sales force and marketing department is key in B2B enterprises.
A lively discussion in the ATI intern pit followed up on panel topics, such as what makes a good salesperson and can sales skills be learned or does the individual have to possess an innate ability or at least have some potential. Randy Potts, former VP of Sales at Convio, fielded questions about hiring salespeople and building a good sales team for startups. Potts said that not all salespeople are the stereotypical slick kind (and to stear clear of those who are) and it is the ones who have a passion for the products and services that they sell, who care more about their reputation and their customers than making a sale, and who can do “big hat” thinking, or put the good of the company before their own benefit, versus “little hat,” or self-interested, thinking who are the most valuable team players.
Adam Berman, CEO of TVA Medical, Inc. and Sheila G. Burns, Senior Director of Global Strategic Marketing at Luminex Corporation also added their expertise and discussed the life sciences industry current commerical business model. It involves building a sizable sales force combined with a great deal of mass marketing with a focus on ROI for sales and marketing expenditures. The value-propostion is paramount to taking that new technology or scientific breakthrough to market and securing a stronghold in the industry by personally connecting with partners, clients and customers via multiple sales channels and integrated marketing communications (IMC).
Ben Dyer wrote a great post on TechDrawl called The Startup Sales Hire about the event.
This post was written by Kirsten Frazee. Kirsten is a graduate student at UT majoring in advertising with a minor in radio-television-film. She is a communications intern at the Austin Technology Incubator and contributes to marketing, public relations, event planning, Web site management, and social media activities. She has a background in both communication and biology, a unique combination that led her to work for ATI.
Tags: adam berman, aruni gunasegaram, ben dyer, business development, convio, homeaway, jason j. mathias, luminex corporation, lunch and learn, randy potts, sales, salesforce, sheila g. burns, techdrawl, tva medical