BTSM Event:’s Steli Efti – Sales Hacks, Tips, & Tricks

Last January, CEO, Steli Efti joined us for our quarterly BuildingTheSalesMachine event, to share his thoughts on sales hacks, tips and tricks for scaling a team. If you haven’t heard of Steli yet, we’re not quite sure where you’ve been ;-), but check him out. The blog is an absolute treasure trove of tips on selling in the real world, and building your sales team. Steli’s podcast with Hiten Shah, the Startup Chat is a gem and his “Hustle Hard” talk to founders at the Pioneers Festival in 2014 is one of our most reccomended starting points for Founders interested in building out their teams.

So, we were thrilled to have him come join us in NYC last winter and share his thoughts. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing some of Steli’s wisdom for the community.


Part II – Sales Hacks, Tips & Tricks


BTSM: Share the top two or three tips / hacks you think are most critical for successful sales people.

  • I’ll keep it simple, and I’ll just share one.
  • This tip work for individual sales people, or entrpreneurs that have sold three companies
  • The Follow-up
  • 90% of winning happens in the follow-up and follow through
  • It starts with showing up, but it ends with the follow through
  • Most deals are lost from lack of follow-up
  • His strategy: If he engaged with you, he will follow-up FOREVER
    • He will never stop
    • Really, never stop
    • Really
  • He will never make excuses for why the person won’t respond
  • E-mail number 40 or e-mail 80 have the same tone, just following up
  • Example story: uber billionaire wants to meet with Steli, 48 e-mails later the response was:
    • “I’m so glad you followed up”, and then this person eventually invested.
  • The Gospel of the Follow-up!!!
  • If you keep follow-up, the world will be a better place.

How do you go about selling to enterprise clients? Both from the consulting and saas perspective?

* A logo doesn’t buy things.
* You don’t sell to Coca-Cola , you sell to John. John has needs
* Those needs may not align with the company or department
* You need to understand all layers of incentives (company / department
* Sometimes the desire is to “look good” or make a safe choice.
* Understand who they are
* You never sell to one person alone
* You sell to one champion, but then they sell to someone else.
* Give them a customized version of why they want to greenlight this deal.
* Once you understand that, enterprise deals become less mythical and confusing.

BTSM: How do you ensure that people you’re going to meet with have done their homework on a 2nd or 3rd meeting?

  • Assume they won’t, homework sucks
  • Find a way to sell without it.
  • Don’t be surprised that they don’t do their homework
  • Don’t make them feel bad, help them out
  • For later stage sales with larger customers, challenge them to “know their shit” before you allow them to buy
  • This is churn prevention, you know they’ll get asked tough questions about why they bought the software
  • If they don’t have good answers, they might churn down the road.
  • Prepare your customer to defend the product and their decision to buy your product before they have to

BTSM: How has your homework technique been for decreasing churn?

  • Coaching people to react well when they get tough questions internally
  • He empowers his champions to be able to answer tough questions internally
  • It comes from selling a super complex deal, and then having to go back and save it when it churns (for more complex or larger clients)




steli_efti2-79990df1Steli Efti dropped out of high school, taught himself to be an entrepreneur, is a life-long learner, and the founder of Supercool School, VibaTV and SwipeGood. As an alumni of Y Combinator, Steli is the CEO and co-founder of ElasticSales and As if this isn’t enough already, Steli also advises startups and is the author of “The Ultimate Startup Guide To Outbound Sales.” You can find him on twitter here , or on linkedin here.