In this interview, Kyle Racki shared his path from running an agency to becoming a SaaS founder. He explained in a simple and approachable manner how we can obtain a sales culture, no matter our background and apply it without fearing the exposure.
We want to give you the tools you need to be able to do lead prospecting and confidently start conversations with potential customers. As we will discuss in this article, Kyle believes that offering value is the best sales technique that you can use to drive conversions. Navigating your way through the different decisions makers within an enterprise can also prove to be rather challenging. This something that Kyle Racki discussed with us.
Kyle is the CEO of Proposify, a SaaS company based out of Canada that helps more than 8,000 sales teams eliminate the frustration caused by the proposal process. I was interested to hear about Kyle’s approach to sales and whether this has changed since launching Proposify.
Kyle openly admits that he isn’t a born salesperson but this doesn’t mean he can’t do sales. “What people should know about me is that I’m not a born hustler or a born salesperson. At least I don’t feel that way. Some people are really just meant for it, like my business partner. He could sit at a bar and talk up somebody at the bar and they suddenly become a client later that week. I’ve never really had that talent, but what I have had experience in is different”.
Reflecting on his past, “When I was a kid, I actually had to knock on doors to place religious literature. So I grew up in that kind of a religion. I just got used to a lot of rejection, a lot of knocking on doors, making pitches, and then basically having the door slammed on my face. I think that was actually good practice for sales”. This helped Kyle to develop thick skin.
“The thing I’ve noticed about salespeople is that they usually can handle rejection very well and it doesn’t bum them out, which for most people it would. I mean that’s a whole other thing, but the way I guess I’ve approached sales throughout my career has always been consultative selling and just trying to help. If I was meeting with a prospect, I would really just try to dig in and understand their business and help them without expecting a sale”.
Kyle continued, “More often than not people realize when you’re authentic and when you’re really trying to help them. And you’re not just trying to close a deal. I think that’s one of the biggest secrets that a lot of sales reps have to understand is they’re always trying to spin the conversation around how do we close this deal instead of really, almost detaching yourself a little bit from the sale. And just try to give more than you take”.
“I love that idea of offering passion and not even trying to force passion. I always like to say that, you know, one of the biggest things I always do in personal life is like, I’m always trying to push certain movies or certain bands or certain albums. And people say I’m really pushy about it, but they ended up watching the movies because I’m just so passionate”, Kyle told us.
Kyle believes that you shouldn’t hold back on the passion. “You hear a lot of people sort of try to be too subdued or too cool or whatever when they’re in that kind of a situation. I don’t think I’ve ever been fantastic at prospecting, which is why I’ve opted more for inbound marketing and trying to produce content and speaking, and ways to get in front of people with offer value”.
“Don’t ask for a meeting. I have learned a lot more about prospecting over the last couple of years, running sales and overseeing the sales team. And I think that there are some practical tips that I could probably offer from the standpoint of how you get that first meeting. How do you get somebody to sit? Step one I think is definitely do what I just said, which is create content, get out there, and build a personal brand. Outside of that, sometimes you don’t have time to do that. You really need to get leads in the door”.
According to Kyle, there are a few things you can do. “Number one is that it is a bit of a volume play. It’s a matter of really just rolling up your sleeves and doing the work and building the email list or the contact list because you will face a lot of rejection. And that’s just, you know, our sales reps are doing sometimes, you know, 50 dials a day”.
“I listen to those calls and I hear them get on the phone with somebody and have them say, no, I’m not interested. And they just kind of move on to the next. That’s a fear you kind of have to get over and get used to. LinkedIn is really the place, if you’re selling for B2B, to try to build that prospecting list, Sales Navigator, all these tools are fantastic”.
He continued, “Now, like any tool, it’s what you actually do with it. So what everybody does that doesn’t work is LinkedIn requests. For instance, they pitch in the actual contact request. People do this all the time. They try to shortcut the sale that doesn’t work. Instead when you’re connecting with somebody on LinkedIn, most people will actually accept your contact requests”.
“If it’s a very short, simple, “Hey, I love what you’re doing” or “I really enjoyed a post I saw by you”. Find some way to basically compliment them and just tell them you want to connect because you have mutual interests, don’t pitch in the connection requests. The other thing is, when you get the connection requests and you’re going into the messages, don’t pitch in the messages”.
Kyle feels that this doesn’t work. “There’s tools out there like Lead IQ, where you can actually grab their email address from their LinkedIn profile. At least get into their inbox because most people don’t check LinkedIn every day, but they check email multiple times a day. Really get in their inbox as quickly as possible. And then of course, what is the actual message that you put forth? And it can’t be canned”.
“I really believe in personalization. The more you can talk about the prospect in that introductory email, the more likely they’re going to read it and get back to you and begin a conversation. Prospecting is really about beginning conversations. Getting them to basically raise their hand and say that they have a problem and start the discussion. You’re qualifying them as much as they’re qualifying you”.
As Kyle told us, “LinkedIn messaging and cold emailing is abused, which is why you have to go personal. You have to go authentic. I think cold contact, even cold calling, you know, is never really going to go away. If you approach it the right way, because like, I don’t know about you, but I’ve responded to cold emails. I’ve actually bought products from cold emails because they either did them really well or they happened to get me in the exact right moment where I was looking for a solution”.
“I was looking for something around handling credit card disputes. That was a problem that was on my mind for a few weeks, and got a cold call from a company called Mitigator. I was looking for something exactly like this. I didn’t know it existed. If you happen to get somebody when they’re already thinking about the problem, which is hard to do, which is why you have to send out a lot of emails or make a lot of phone calls”.
We hope that you enjoyed reading about how you can scale-up your lead generation activities and get smarter at sales. I really enjoyed talking to Kyle about how he approaches sales. It was great to learn more about LinkedIn lead generation. There were definitely some insights in this conversation that could be implemented into your B2B SaaS marketing strategy.