You’re reading an excerpt of Founding Sales: The Early-Stage Go-To-Market Handbook, a book by Pete Kazanjy. The most in-depth, tactical handbook ever written for early-stage B2B sales, it distills early sales first principles and teaches the skills required, from being a founder selling to being an early salesperson and a sales leader. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.

As an outcome of sales strategies we’ve already covered—the sheer magnitude of professional interactions you’ll have and the importance of high activity—the reality is that you’re going to classify most of your opportunities as closed-lost. For that reason, a mindset of constant record keeping is paramount for success.

Previously, you could perhaps rely on your own memory to recall what it is that you were working on or what your last conversation with a given person had covered. No longer.

Instead, you need to admit to yourself that there’s no way that you can retain all this information, not just day to day and week to week when dealing with your current pipeline, but month to month and quarter to quarter as you revisit and resurrect previously closed opportunities. On my sales teams, we call it “setting future-you up for success.” When you come back to look at this account in a week, month, or quarter, what information will you wish you had? Record that now while it’s available, and make the ephemeral permanent.

And while your CRM will be the primary repository of this information, this mindset shift includes a variety of tactics (CRM excellence being one of them). In my sales teams, every person has a lab notebook to allow them to take notes during a call (especially during the discovery section), including size of opportunity, qualification details, and so on, to later be transferred to the CRM (not wholesale, but the salient points).

Of course, you don’t need to transcribe each and every thing that a prospect says on the phone. However, you do need to adopt a mindset of persistently pursuing and checking off key pieces of information, in an efficient fashion.

Moreover, once you and your team have internalized this mindset, you can start looking for constant opportunities to use technology (email capture, call recording, presentation recording) to make the capture of this information automatic and instantaneous.

Be Expert and Authoritative. It Begets Fearlessness.

Modern sales is not about trying to sell snake oil to a mark.

Rather, sales professionals are the grease of the market. They seek out inefficiencies in the world in the form of qualified prospects who have the business pain that the proposed solution resolves. Then they engage and consult with the prospect, and propose the implementation of the solution, to help fix that business pain.

As such, expertness in the vertical in which you are selling is an absolute requirement. You need to be a student of the game you are playing and, ideally, even more expert than the prospects to whom you are selling. This means absorbing as much information as possible about the field, the business processes that exist within it, the common organizational players, and the other solutions that already help with these business processes or compete with yours.

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