SalesFounders - Startup Sales Growth | Venture Capital | Crowdfunding | Sales Strategy |

SalesFounders is a weekly podcast that focuses on sales growth and strategy for startups. We interview VC’s, entrepreneurs, and industry experts to discuss the strategies that will help founders bridge the sales gap and accelerate their most profitable channels of growth.
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
SalesFounders - Startup Sales Growth | Venture Capital | Crowdfunding | Sales Strategy |


All Episodes
Now displaying: Page 1
Jan 10, 2018

"Our company mission is to help people experience the joy of food" - Scott Porter

What comes to mind when you think about customer service?  Do you think about United Airlines and the infamous passenger escort? Do you remember that restaurant server who rolled her eyes when you asked for gluten-free? Or do you think about that grocery store clerk who remembered your first name and asked if your child was feeling better?

We all know what it feels like to have an incredible customer experience. We evangelize, we promote, and we rave about those companies. The same is true of horrible experiences. Happy customers spend 140% more than unhappy customers yet, too often, founders obsess over profit margins or process flows and then wonder why they are struggling to grow, or much less, survive. My guest this week is Scott Porter, founder of San Diablo Artisan Churro's. Scott has a unique perspective when it comes to customer service. In fact, Scott leveraged customer service to rescue a nursing home from bankruptcy. It might be fair to say that Scott worries more about his customers than his own business. On the other hand, that's probably why his business is booming!


  • Marketing a super niche business model
  • Company growth through customer reviews
  • What defines a great customer experience?
  • How to measure your customer happiness/satisfaction
  • Defining and measuring your brand: what 3 words define you?
  • How Scott rescued a bankrupt nursing home using world-class customer service
  • Strategies to engage your team in building a better customer experience
  • How San Diablo defines their customers experience:
    • D - Dedication
    • I  - Interaction not Transaction
    • A - Attention to Detail
    • B - Brighten Through “Deep Fried Happiness
    • L - Legacy
    • O - Opportunity to WOW
Jan 2, 2018

Throughout this season of SalesFounders we have covered a number of themes that seem to exemplify winning startups: Leveraging domain expertise, validated learning, mentorship, and strategic sales growth. Josh Ellars, founder of Patri, exemplifies all of them. In fact, his startup story is a case-study in how each of these components blend together to create a powerful growth trajectory. Josh believes that a founder needs critical feedback and an openness to adaptation. On this episode Josh explains how he has leveraged 10 years of public sector sales expertise, 10,000 linkedIn connections, a powerhouse advisory board and a lean methodology to bootstrap a solution that is will forever change the way companies sell to the public sector.  


  • Challenges selling in the public sector
  • Positioning your career around a niche
  • Applying the lean startup methodology for feedback driven innovation
  • Why LinkedIn is an ideal source for validation and leads
  • Building an advisory board - How to surround yourself with the right team
  • The pro's and con's of an automated sales process  
  • The challenges of running a consulting service and says company simultaneously
  • Surrounding yourself with critical feedback and why you should never be married to your idea's
Dec 19, 2017

Most entrepreneurs acknowledge the importance of customer validation. Few, however, are as curious or relentless in the pursuit of customer feedback as Whitney Casey. Following her Emmy-winning career as a talk show host and NYC anchor, Whitney created, a startup in the Fashion/Technology space. Along with her best-friend and co-founder Brooklyn Decker, Whitney has assembled a stellar team of brainiacs, in NYC, who are revolutionizing the way you interact with your wardrobe. Whitney joins us this week to explore the value of customer feedback and the strategy every founder should model before attempting to scale. 


  • Finery - the first wardrobe operating system
  • When to hire vs outsource developers
  • A validation strategy every founder should adopt
  • How to elicit the most authentic customer feedback
  • The power of honest feedback from users, even if "your baby is ugly"
  • Product Development discipline and the challenges of “feature creep”
  • 6 revenue sources and the customers lifecycle.
  • Choosing the right investors - “make sure you find smart money”
Dec 12, 2017

Justin Edwards is the VP of Sales Practice at Mercato partners. His focus is optimizing and accelerating sales performance within each of their portfolio companies. Leveraging his sales experience in startups and Fortune 100 organizations alike, Justin has demonstrated a unique ability to help founders identify sales inefficiencies and develop highly scalable sales teams and processes. 


  • Modeling high velocity sales growth 
  • Looking at people as the underlying engine for sales acceleration
  • Identifying the 5 traits of success in your sales environment, and building process and scale around those traits
  • Why Hubspot requires new sales reps to experience the customer journey before selling
  • Technology, money, and the dangers of a broken sales process
  • Mapping sales process to identify bottlenecks and deceleration. 
  • Identify the "anatomy of a perfect customer"
  • Sales qualified leads and the ingredients of an efficient sales process
  • The misleading indicators of sales performance
  • Corporate strategy - Inside Sales vs. Enterprise Sales strategy.
  • Why HR, Marketing, and Sales are the three most common area's of weakness in growth companies
Dec 5, 2017

Knowing why you win and lose deals might be the most valuable information your company can have. Unfortunately, 60% of sales professionals are wrong about why they win and lose deals. Not surprisingly, founders make critical errors when they use such assessments in strategic decisions. 

My guest this week is Clozd founder, Spencer Dent. Leveraging his experience at Bain, and Qualtrics, Spencer co-founded Clozd with the mission to help companies uncover the truth about why they win and lose. On this episode, Spencer shares some of the most common pitfalls, and why win-loss analysis should be an integral part of your growth strategy. 


  • Win-loss analysis and the founding story of Clozd
  • 2 reasons companies should outsource win-loss analysis
  • Why founders avoid win-loss analysis
  • 60% of reps don't know why they win or lose deals
  • How to categorize and prioritize the issues that affect win-loss
  • Adapting your sales teams to position against the competition
  • The 3 most common deal killers that every founder should be aware of 
  • A closer took at Clozd business model
Nov 28, 2017

Michelle Weinstein, also known as The Pitch Queen, has leveraged an exciting sales career, and an entrepreneurial rollercoaster to refine a skill that has become her secret weapon - the Pitch. Michelle has pitched her way into Costco, onto Shark Tank, and into the world of millionaires, athletes and coaches. Michelle joins SalesFounders this week to talk about the art of the Pitch and a few of her strategies to help entrepreneurs build relationships, gain rapport, and generate powerful sales traction. 


  • Facing adversity - lessons from a failed startup
  • Entrepreneurship is a 24 hour sales job
  • Preparing your company to weather unknown costsBuilding Rapport - why trust is the secret to selling 
  • Relationship based-selling and the “champion”
  • Persistence and the art of being ‘Professionally Annoying’
  • Strategies to connect with influencers 
  • Ingredients of a great sales pitch
Nov 21, 2017

"More than 90% of startups fail, due primarily to self-destruction rather than competition."

The Sales Gap is perhaps the most daunting stage of entrepreneurship. Most founders will agree that their primary objective is to leverage product market fit into scalable sales growth as efficiently as possible. However, the majority of startups self-destruct during this transition as a result of premature scaling.

In this keynote excerpt from Founders Weekend, Brad Harker explores the concept of "sales validation," and the roadmap he has developed to help organizations preempt the dangers of premature scaling, and generate sustainable sales growth.


  • Navigating the Sales Gap
  • Premature Scaling vs. Market Bubbles
  • Sales Validation - the capstone to Product Market Fit
  • 4 Prerequisites to sales validation
    • Business Validation
    • Value Proposition
    • Sales Alignment
    • Launch Strategy
  • Defining 4 Stages of the Sales Process
    • Lead Development
    • Sales Mapping
    • Marketing Automation
    • Metrics
  • 7 Components of Sales Validation
    • Sales validation is confirmed when the following 7 criteria are achieved with the majority of those transactions:
      • Are you consistent in where you source new leads?
      • Is the sales process similar?
      • When customers purchase, is the product stable?
      • Are customers buying the product for the same features?
      • Do you need to customize the product to make the sale
      • Are your customers endorsing and evangelizing your product?
      • Is it profitable?
Nov 14, 2017

"Nobody want’s to be sold anymore.” With so many products and solutions competing for our attention, buyers want simple solutions from people they know like and trust. 

Meet Steve Nudelberg, author, speaker, and “serial salesman” who has built a successful career by being valuable, authentic, and connected. Steve will argue that, for more startups, cold calling is a waste of time, and that entrepreneurs should spend less time hiding behind their brand and more time engaging with their customers.

On this episode, we explore the evolving sales landscape, the biggest sales challenges entrepreneurs face and some secrets to help startups connect with their customers and keep their sales pipelines full. 

Nov 7, 2017

Ace Marks is a brand of handcrafted Italian dress shoes that has leveraged a direct to consumer sales strategy to disrupt one of the most established industries. In the past year alone, Ace Marks have sold in more than 80 countries, and has become the worlds most funded footwear project through Kickstarter. Founders Paul Farago and Julian Gonzalez join SalesFounders to talk about their relentless focus on customer experience, the domain expertise behind this disruptive brand of luxury shoes. 

On this Episode we Discuss:

  • Leveraging domain experience around the needs of the customer
  • The pro’s and con’s of the direct to consumer strategy
  • Why Ace Marks chose crowdfunding as their initial source of growth 
  • Kickstarter success and their unorthodox approach to building a campaign
  • Life after Crowdfunding - how to find sustainable growth channels
  • Breaking paradigms - educating customers and the cost=value fallacy
  • Influencer Marketing - the algorithm Ace Marks developed to identify the best influencers
  • How to manage cash flow in high inventory startups
  • Competition and the challenge to disrupt highly established industries
Oct 31, 2017

Roy Morejon is the President of Enventys Partners, a full-service product launch agency that has created more than 450 brands, 65 companies, and made over $1 billion for entrepreneurs and corporations. Roy's passion is helping entrepreneurs launch great ideas and Eventys Partners has a comprehensive solution that supports entrepreneurs with everything from product design and development, to crowdfunding and marketing. Roy joins us this week to talk about product validation and the system that has helped 21 brands break the million dollar crowdfunding mark. 

On this Episode we Discuss:

  • The 3 pre-requisites to a winning crowdfunding campaign
  • Eventys Partners receive 150 pitches per day - here’s how they validate the best products
  • 5 things founders can do to prepare for a successful product launch
  • Why simple products perform better than feature-rich solutions
  • The nature of selling and why entrepreneurs should prepare for change
  • How to differentiate your product in highly competitive markets
  • How to initiate a product validation campaign with your target audience
  • Strategies to clarify your ideal customer profile
Oct 24, 2017

Traffic & Funnels co-founder, Taylor Welch, joins us to talk about the challenges entrepreneurs face when it comes to lead growth and predictable funnel strategies. On this episode, Taylor walks us through the anatomy of traffic & funnel strategy as well as the secret behind their 6 million dollar webinar. We'll talk about why validation is the key to establishing a powerful marketing message and the 4 steps they use to convert your core message into lead faucets of predictable revenue.


  • The importance of validation and how to identify your ideal marketing message
  • Why Paid Traffic is the key to establishing control and predictable growth
  • How to make the validation process more efficient - simplification and finding your “one thing
  • Stop complicating the buying process by keeping your messaging clear and simple. 
  • Money and the 4 ingredients of a predictable marketing strategy
    1. A really good piece of content . . . just one.
    2. Great strategy to drive people to that content and self-filter
    3. Funnel to transfer filtered leads to a qualifying call
    4. A sales process to convert qualified leads into paying customers. 
  • Time - How to shift from trading hours for dollars and generate leverage. 
  • Feeder Funnels and how to build a lead faucet with paid traffic. 
  • 3 Marketing KPI’s  
    • Leads - how many people are coming in at the top?
    • Consumption - how many are sticking around? 
    • Application - how many are going to the next step?  
  • Surround yourself with the right people - you normalize what is constantly in front of you. 

"You have to know the levers that correlate to income and chose not to do the thousands of things that take away from the activities that matter." 

Oct 17, 2017

Heather Havenwood is a serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, and authority on the subjects of digital marketing and sales coaching. Heather is helping entrepreneurs "break the rules" and implement proven marketing and sales systems. As an contributor, performance coach, and one of Huffington Posts Top 50 Must Follow Women Entrepreneurs, Heather is a power-house when it comes to entrepreneurship. She joins us this week to talk about her challenging journey in entrepreneurship, sales systems, and why more women need to give themselves "permission" to thrive as entrepreneurs. 

True freedom is the presence of alignment - Heather Havenwood


  • The pursuit of freedom through entrepreneurship 
  • Reinventing yourself in the face of adversity
  • Tapping into the creating process of entrepreneurship
  • Sales Systems - is your startup really prepared for growth?
  • Messaging and why entrepreneurship struggle to connect with customers. 
  • Women Entrepreneurs - why more women need to give themselves "permission" to succeed. 
  • Get comfortable breaking the rules!
Oct 10, 2017

Alex Hermozi has perfected the sales launch. What started as a passion for weightlifting and fitness, became a $55k investment in his own gym and a steep learning curve to profitability. In time, Alex figured out how to scale his efforts into 6 highly profitable gyms. Realizing the value of the "system" he had developed, Alex sold his gyms and turned his attention to the thousands of struggling gym owners across the country. Today, his "gym launch" system helps gym owners fill their gyms in less than a month and scale towards million dollar businesses. "Launching a gym is like baking a cake" says Alex, and on this weeks episode, he shares a number of his plays that can help any startup identify the ingredients of a powerful sales launch. 

"The amount of money you make is in direct proportion to the number of offers you make." -Frank Kern


  • The 5 Stages of the Gym Launch System: 
    1. Lead Generation
    2. Lead Nurture
    3. Sales Event
    4. Fulfillment
    5. Resell and Ascension
  • Customer acquisition costs vs. cash flow
  • How to leverage a single marketing strategy through multiple campaigns 
  • How to get your customers to front the cost of getting more customers
  • Two reasons LBO's (low barrier offers) might be killing your startup 
  • Creating "front-end" offers with higher retention rates
  • Increasing revenue through exception customers service, not scale
  • How to replicate your systems into a training program for new sales employees
  • Establishing clear leadership and accountability 
Oct 3, 2017

Startup Accelerators have become a powerful source of guidance and support for aspiring entrepreneurs all over the world. One of the pioneers of startup acceleration is Robb Kunz, a seasoned entrepreneur and angel investor. Following his seemingly endless struggle to find entrepreneurs with sufficiently validated business models, Robb co-founded  Boom Startup, a mentorship-based seed accelerator for entrepreneurs in the disciplines of technology, education, government, and space. 7 years into this rapidly changing industry, Robb joins us on SalesFounders to talk about the future of seed acceleration, and some of the most valuable lessons he has learned from 18 exits and thousands of entrepreneurs. 


  • The biggest problems angel investors face in todays startup world
  • 3 ways Boom Startup is changing the nature of seed acceleration
  • The 5 stages of validation within Boom Startup
  • What are the components of a great founding team?
  • Tracking 18 exits, these are the two consistent traits of the highest performing startups
  • How to create profitable relationships with channel partners and resellers
  • How to build a winning sales culture from the start
  • The value of bringing outside sales guidance before making the big sales hires
Sep 26, 2017

Following a lucrative exit from the sale of his first company, Shane Cox let it all ride on his second venture that quickly became an unscalable and capital exhaustive business that bled him dry. After liquidated all of his assets, and selling the last of his prized possessions, Shane doubled-down on the one promising component of his solution - the QBall - a microphone imbedded into a dodge-ball. Over the course of the next two years, Shane scraped by, often sleeping in his car to afford any event that would allow him to pitch his product. In time, the product gained traction and on his third attempt, Shane was invited onto the set of Shark Tank. 

This Sunday, October 1st, Shane's moment in the tank will be featured on the season premier. On this week's episode of SalesFounders, we explore the business Shane has built and his rollercoaster ride of validation and traction that has led him to one of the most coveted entrepreneurial stages.  

Sep 19, 2017

More than a third of the US workforce is comprised of freelancers. Freelancing has become a trillion dollar industry that can be challenging for founders to navigate. With so many experts to choose from, it can be hard to know what to look for, and how to integrate hired talent into your organization.

My guest this week is Connor Gillivan. After selling more than $25 million on Amazon from his dorm room, Connor went on to create, a freelancer marketplace that connects businesses with the top 1% of freelancers in eCommerce, digital marketing, virtual assistance, and web development. Not only has Connor leveraged freelancers to build his Amazon business, but he has also built FreeeUp into a multi-million dollar business using...well...freelancers. Connor joins us this week to talk about this booming industry, the challenges he has faced in his journey, and why freelancers might be the perfect solution for your startup.

Sep 12, 2017

Every entrepreneur needs an occasional moment of honest, personal reflection. How are things really going, and to what extent you are aligning with the needs of your business? The tendency for most founders is to add more process and clutter when they should be finding ways to simplify. 

Meet Steve Krebs; the accountability coach. His mission is to rescue entrepreneurs from the process holes and bottlenecks, cut through the BS, and establish some accountability to systems that generate growth. This is an episode unlike any we've done. Join us for a blunt, no holds barred assault on mediocrity, fear, and the limiting beliefs that are robbing your business. 


  • The biggest personal challenges that prevent entrepreneurs from finding success?
  • Protection, Projection, Posturing and Punishing - How to break out of the unworthiness cycle 
  • Two questions to embrace vulnerability and identify exactly what is holding you back
  • Why vulnerability as an entrepreneur will actually help you succeed
  • How to develop your weaknesses into strengths
  • Living with Purpose and why your purpose can change throughout your life 
  • The power of meditation - taking time each to day to reconnect with yourself
  • Keeping it simple - focusing on base hits, not home runs
  • The power of being consistent and persistent
  • Exploring the coaching business - how to find and convert clients 
  • Framing the deal to allow your customers to qualify to work with you
Sep 5, 2017

Burnout can be a major problem for entrepreneurs . In spite of a seemingly limitless supply of automation tools, entrepreneurs still over-extend themselves to the point of exhaustion. Every entrepreneur needs help, and specifically, the right help. Meet Nicole Wipp - entrepreneur and small business consultant whose speciality is helping entrepreneurs create powerful teams. Leadership requires a very different mindset than entrepreneurship and on this episode, Nicole shares 5 strategies that will help you develop and lead a world-class organization. There's a good chance your next hire is the not the right hire.


  • Why the majority of entrepreneurs burn-out before they find success
  • The power of "letting go" to realize sustainable growth
  • Why entrepreneurship and leadership can create conflict with each other
  • Self awareness and the importance of knowing your strengths
  • Developing your own hiring plan that complements your weaknesses.
  • How to find the best people for your business and reduce turnover
  • The secret to employee engagement - a little trick that goes a long way
  • The challenges with virtual teams
  • 4 Resources to help build your team
Aug 29, 2017

On the heels of a failed startup in 2002, Aaron Ross stumbled into a call-center position at Looking for sales perspective, Aaron discovered something much bigger. The discovery, covered in his best-selling book Predictable Revenue, was a revolutionary approach to outbound selling that led SalesForce from $5M to $100M in sales. Since then, Aaron has helped companies like Uber, SAP, and Oracle figure out how to build scalable, predictable revenue. These strategies, as well as the concepts of "hypergrowth" covered in his recent book with co-author Jason Lemkin, are a just few of the topics we cover as we explore the secrets of predictable sales growth.

“The things that will change your growth rate are often the things you don’t feel comfortable doing.”

On this episode, you'll learn:

  • How Aaron went from a failed startup to helping grow from $5m to $100M in revenue
  • The sales challenges at Salesforce that led to "Predictable Revenue" and Cold Calling 2.0
  • 3 factors to determine whether an outbound strategy is right for your organization
  • How to get your SDR's to think for themselves and away from email template fixation
  • A compensation model for Outbound SDR's
  • The sales mindset or SDRs - how to promote consultative selling and adaptability
  • "Nailing A Niche" and knowing when you’re not ready to grow
  • How to cross the trust gap and reach customers who don’t know you
  • How to go upmarket and increase your average deal size
  • From 0-9 kids in 6 years - how to promote an entrepreneur work-life balance
Aug 22, 2017

Surviving the early stages of a startup to reach growth is a significant milestone for any founder. It is also the beginning of new chapter of challenges and opportunities. There is a science to accelerating growth, and few who know it better than Greg Warnock, managing director and co-founder of Mercato Partners. 

Greg is a technologist, innovator, and PhD-equipped entrepreneur who is well versed in every stage of entrepreneurship. On this episode, Greg walks us through his formula for success, the benchmarks he uses to qualify opportunities, the 3 pillars of growth that define the Mercato performance team, and some of the most common pitfalls that challenge and stifle growth. Drawing on a portfolio that includes companies like SkullCandy, Domo, Stance, and Observepoint, this episode is guaranteed to change the way you look at growth. 


  • The qualities of top performing entrepreneurs and how to spot them
  • Differentiating between Venture and Growth: The origin story of Mercato
  • 4 benchmarks Mercato uses to to evaluate their investments
  • 3 "red flags" of unsustainable growth
  • The 3 biggest growth challenges and how to avoid them
  • Why pricing and process are the most costly sales mistakes entrepreneurs are making
  • How Skull Candy turned Brand Equity into "Irrational Brand Loyalty"
  • An innovative approach to gain sales confidence and process


Aug 15, 2017

Efficient and scalable sales growth is the common goal of every startup. My guest, Trish Bertuzzi, is the best-selling author of the Sales Development Playbook and President of The Bridge Group. Trish joins us this week to discuss account-based marketing, outbound strategy, and how to survive the early stages of sales development. 

Visit for show notes and additional information. 

Aug 8, 2017

There is more to a viral marketing strategy than a great product or a clever tag line. With so much noise in market, it has become increasingly difficult to connect your message with your target audience. My guest, Jace Vernon has the solution to this problem. Jace is the founder of both YDraw and MarketingHy.  YDraw is a white board video and animation company helps companies find a better way to tell the story behind their product or service. MarketingHy is a full-service digital marketing agency which helps companies deliver that story to their target audience.

On this episode, we explore the challenges that most startups face when it comes to telling their story and engaging their customers. We’ll talk about the 5 steps of a viral marketing strategy, effective content and email copy, a system for finding your customers, and a simpler way for startups to approach the daunting task of marketing. Your story is the bridge across the sales gap so buckle up as we take a dive into the the world of story-telling with Jace Vernon. Jace, welcome to SalesFounders. 

Aug 1, 2017

LinkedIn has become a powerful platform for entrepreneurship. Whether your objective is exposure or lead generation, LinkedIn should be a key ingredient of your sales growth strategy. My guest this week is nationally recognized linked in expert Yakov Savitskiy. Yakov is the founder of Linked Lead enteprises and joins me to explore 10 ways you can leverage linkedin to develop or accelerate sales growth. We talk about things like the 3 P’s of a great profile, 8 Publisher best practices, how to be more visible to your target audience, and how to use Linkedin in your sales funnel.

Jul 25, 2017

A deep dive into the apparel industry to talk about the massive disruption that is changing the way we interact with brands and apparel. My guest Matt Falcinelli, is the founder of Matt has leveraged more than 20 years of industry experience to prepare for what will be the iTunes of the apparel industry. On this episode we talk about the 5 ingredients of his go to market strategy. Social Influencers, Conversion funnel story telling, leveraging data, drawing on past domain experience, and learning from the customer.  There is a reason TheDrop has oversubscribed their first round and how they plan to revolutionize the apparel industry is worth a listen. 

Jul 23, 2017

These 4 traits are consistent among top performing sales executives and entrepreneurs. A segment taken from a keynote at Armor Pest Defense.

1 2 3 Next »