Recently, I attended a workshop on Building a Predictable Sales Pipeline by Heinz Marketing. The focus was enablement strategies and tactics to increase your confidence in hitting your number month-after-month. The speaker was Matt Heinz who has over 20 years of marketing and sales experience translating strategy into execution and building a framework that allows your company to generate a net-new sales pipeline with predictability and at scale.

During the workshop, one of my questions was in a “boiler sales room” how many prospects does a sales person have to reach out to every single day, Matt’s response was 130-200 but you can’t have productive conversations. Since I’m not interested in creating a sales boiler room, I asked, what is a reasonable number of people that a sales person should be reaching out to on a daily basis? Matt said, that 40-50 people is considered to be reasonable.

This is the first time that I’ve heard anyone say a specific number. It’s 40 per day.

After hearing that number 40, I decided to start asking questions to sales people that call me. My question to a sale representatives at Outreach.io and to SalesForce.com was how many people do you reach out to regularly? They said about 40 people. They are also said that they are looking for seven (7) meaningful prospects each day of those 40. Meaningful is defined as someone that is genuinely interested in solving their problem with our solution. I also started to research the number 40 and found this: “The average sales rep makes 52 calls every day.” — The Bridge Group 

If you expect your sales people to reach out to 40 people per day, you’re going to need to have a good process. That means you’ve defined things well and you have a good sales sequence. Without a sequence that the team can follow, you’re going to end up with randomness, uneven results, and something that isn’t predictable at all. Sales sequence steps are things like 1) phone call. 2) voice mail. 3) email. 4) social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. 5) newsletters. 6) invitations to events. How many steps are in your sales sequence?

There’s a lot more which was covered by Matt and I’ll continue to blog more about that but I wanted to first touch on the number of prospects that your sales and business development people are reaching out to every day.

I’ve been tracking all my time while on a computer this week and it’s broken down to 30.5 hours. 49% of my time is spent on communication and scheduling, 21% on business, 11% on design and composition. I am very hopeful that hiring an executive assistant is going to be one of the best decisions I could make and I’m really excited about this. Have you hired an EA before? What was your experience? Here’s the JD for the position: https://bit.ly/2In7zPo

We’re down to the final stretch before our March 1st Lake Union launch. From the work side we’ve only got five offices left before we hit 100% pre-lease occupancy. We’ve got twelve days or 244 hours left!

From the personal side, I’ve run two half marathons in the last two weekends and tonight I went for a swim and covered 120 lengths, 3000 meters, or about two miles.

Mentally and physically, it’s time to give it all we’ve got. Be strong, maximum effort, set a new threshold, and get across the finish line.

Just finished a 14 mile run. However the first thing I did before I ran this AM was my Headspace sports meditation. The biggest opponent is always inside and my crazy has a loud voice. I believe that meditation and yoga makes me more resilient as an athlete and entrepreneur.

I feel like I’m on my way to being able to take on anything and later this year I’ll find out while I push equally hard to do an Ironman and raise money to grow and scale thinkspace. I’m starting to feel like I’m drawing power and energy from mediation + yoga and this isn’t “slowing down” or “self-care” but just another fuel source to ensure I can push harder, become even stronger, and increase my threshold.

For those of you that mediate or practice yoga, how does it help you as an entrepreneur and/or athlete?

As we launch our Lake Union location we’re doing both meditation and yoga at work and training for an Ironman. Join us?

The reaction when Darla found out she can come to work because we’re now a dog friendly office space! Yes, Thinkspace Lake Union is dog friendly! Come apply to join us! https://thinkspace.com/why

rocketdog-communications-michael-elliot-400x400Announcing your go-to Marketing/Digital service provider at thinkspace: RocketDog Communications! RocketDog is excited to bring award winning creative and branding experience to Thinkspace’s new location and business model.

“One of our core values is “grit” and we love that it aligns perfectly with the Thinkspace team’s values as well!” said RocketDog’s own CEO Michael Elliott.

Make sure to stop by RocketDog’s office on March 1st to see how they can help your company!

I played poker with Martin Tobias for all the money that I had in my pocket. Take a guess how it ended up?!

“Play for everything in your pocket every now and then. Just to remind yourself your are alive. And your pockets can get refilled” – Martin Tobias

Like poker, entrepreneurship is an all-in effort and we’re definitely all-in again with the launch of the new Thinkspace Lake Union location. We’re looking for heads down entrepreneurs with enough grit + resilience and have the right mindset to go all-in too. If you know of someone that fits mold please introduce me! https://thinkspace.com/why

grit-resilience-400-katie-walvatne-granite-mountainMy whole life, I’ve recognized that I’m not the smartest person in the room. There are always people that are smarter than me. I’ve had to work twice as hard as the other person in order to get the same results. When I was really young, I watched how a tennis player, Michael Chang, show tremendous grit and battled back through one of the most grueling matches against the number one player in the world. From that moment, my mind was made up that no matter what the challenge, I would find a way to out last it and if I’m going down, I’m going down swinging.

“Grit is passion and perseverance for especially long-term goals.” – Angela Duckworth

Between 2008 and 2011, I survived one of the most difficult and stressful times of my life. With a young family of three toddlers I put everything on the line. All-in, as defined by all my personal financial resources, all my emotional energy, heart and soul, everything at risk to start up my company and survive a startup company in a recession. On top of all that, I had a period of 770 consecutive days where the bank called my loan and asked me to repay a million dollars. For me, that’s not something I can find in between the sofa cushions. It was through massive struggle that I was able to solve that issue and actually not go bankrupt.

“Big smarts with medium grit tend to loose out to medium smarts with big grit.” – Martin Tobias

After surviving that, I knew that I wanted to increase my margins. Margin is the space between your load and your limits. I wanted to push the edge out further. I don’t want to ever feel like I’m about to fall off the edge. One thing I did to reduce my stress was start running, I ran a couple half marathons which helped me train to manage my stress and keep me from physically tipping over.

Push the Edge Further Out

Life hits hard. In a period of one year, three people I knew between the ages of 25 and 40 passed away from cancer. Life can hit you so hard and it will keep you down if you let it. I vividly remember the feeling as I walked step-by-step with Shonda, a friend and employee, as she battled through nine months of fighting cancer. After a few months of reflecting, I decided to run a marathon, which would help me push the edge out further so that I might have a fighting chance to get through what random things life throws my direction. I believe that most things in life you can figure out if you have enough time. Staying upright on your feet is part of the battle and that’s done by being physically strong so that your mind can figure out how to break through!

Resilience is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure

Resilience: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. – Merriam-Webster

Maybe I’ve seen too many Rocky Balboa movies and the picture of resilience is when Ivan Drago says to Rocky “I must break you” and they go on to exchange body blow after body blow. Resilience seems to be confused with grit, that the longer you can out last someone the more resilient you are. It’s like you have to be able to pick yourself off the turf for one more play. What if that’s not what resilience is at all?

The key to resilience is trying really hard, then stopping, recovering, and then trying again. – Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan

Upon reading the article “Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure”. I found a few quotes in there that talked about:

“If you spend too much time in the performance zone, you need more time in the recovery zone.”

“That if you want to build resilience, you start by strategically stopping. Give yourself the resources to be tough by creating internal and external recovery periods.”

When early on in my entrepreneurial journey, I read entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t. So that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t. Parts of this are very true for me and other parts I’m still figuring out! I’m also still looking at the word resilience and trying to see how much of that I have.

If you’re looking for answers to know whether or not you have Grit and Resilience, register for our event at Seattle Startup Week. Space is limited as we deep dive into this topic:

Grit and Resilience: Do you have what it takes?
Date: November 17 @ 1PM
Location: Google Seattle

Before you attend the event you can also take Martin Tobias’ Grit Test to see where you land on the Grit Scale.

Speakers:
Martin Tobias, Serial Entrepreneur, Investor, Founder, MGT Investments
Anne-Marie Faiola, Founder and CEO, Bramble Berry
Matt Williams, CEO of Pro.com
Peter Chee, Founder and CEO, thinkspace

Other sources:
If you’re looking for some good talks on Grit, watch Angela Duckworth’s TED Talk. Angela also did a talk at Google called “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” which I found to be even better as it relates tech companies and the startup mindset.

dark-side-entrepreneurship-posterThere are a lot of positives of being an entrepreneur, but, we’re going to get raw and talk about the dark side of entrepreneurship.

Over the last couple years there’s been more transparency on the topic of what the “Darkness of Entrepreneurship” really is. Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz.com, describes what it can really look like in a epic blog post that he wrote: “A Long, Ugly Year of Depression That’s Finally Fading”.

As an entrepreneur you will face a lot of painful things like fear of missing payroll, not spending time with people you care about as you work 80 hours a week, the highs and lows within the same work day that make you look bi-polar, the stress eating or bad eating habits, and struggle raising money from investors. During Seattle Startup Week our event on The Dark Side starts here and goes beyond that.

The dark side is what’s on the other side of when your trajectory is going great, you’re hitting your revenue goals, and your company is being recognized as one of PSBJ’s Fastest Growing Companies for a couple years in a row as the company is growing at 90% year over year. But as you try to execute and fail to continue the growth you feel like you’re making bad decision after bad decision. You lose key employees and you question your ability to lead. Your key investor, points a finger at you and says to you, you made all these hiring decisions. You have no choice but to own it. It hits you that you’re no longer enjoying any of the work that you used to enjoy. You ask yourself questions like did I just make one of the biggest mistakes of my life and spend years investing all financial and emotional resources into something that is failing? These are the things that cause you to lose sleep, gives you shortness of breath, as you cry yourself to sleep. Maybe some of you know what I’m talking about?

This event is going to talk about some of these challenges and some of the things that entrepreneurs have done to cope, survive, and find clarity in these kinds of times.

Register here: The Dark Side of Entrepreneurship: What No One is Talking About.
Date: November 16 at 12PM

Speakers:
Martin Tobias, Founder and Investor, MGT Investments
Jesse Proudman, Distinguished Engineer and CTO, IBM Blue Box
Jen Mueller, Founder, Talk Sporty to Me / Seahawks Reporter
Michelle Hollomon, Coach and Counselor, MA, LMHC, CPC

Talk Sporty to MeSeattle Startup Week kicks off November 14th with an event focused on “The Intersection of Sports and Startups“. We have Jen Mueller, founder of Talk Sporty to Me and Seahawks Sideline Reporter moderating the event. Jen is also the author of the book “Talk Sporty to Me: Thinking Outside The Box Scores”. Here’s a little bit about the book:

Any book that starts with a paragraph about the Seattle Seahawks winning the Super Bowl against Denver is going to be a great book! The parts that I liked most about this book were quotes from various people in Seattle like Coach Pete Carroll and his philosophy to “Always compete”. I also really enjoyed the conversation that Jen had with John Nordstrom when he talked about three things 1) “Everyone is included” 2) “No one wants to take credit for any of the success” 3) “Pete (Carroll) understands the importance of the last three feet”. The last three feet, refers to the distance between you and the customer. In my mind it also refers to the last yard in a startup where you need to make sure the customer experience is great or it could also be the final yard that propels you forward in your startup.

Sports is a great way to get a conversation going and build rapport with people. This book is useful for anyone starting out in the business world or branching out into a new industry that wants to understand how sports can be one of the ways to create a connection with someone.

Space is limited at the Seattle Startup Week event, please be sure to register for “The Intersection of Sports and Startups“.

Moderator:
Jen Mueller, Founder of Talk Sporty to Me and Sideline Reporter for the Seahawks

Speaker Panel:
Chuck Frizelle, CEO of Coros
Jesse Smith, Manager of Analytics for the Seattle Mariners
Josh Decker, CEO of Tagboard
Steve Schwartz, Founder of ProInfluence