May 3, 2022

Market-to-Revenue Interview

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Just pick a lane when it comes to GTM Strategy and iterate says Leslie Venetz of Sales Team Builder

10 Go-to-Market Questions in 10 Minutes with Leslie Venetz


Meet Leslie Venetz, Founder at Sales Team Builder. Make it about your buyer. Focus very heavily on referrals. Show up authentically to your community and to your market. Clarity about your ICP: it’s not good enough to talk about everybody that could potentially buy. We really need to talk about who is most likely to buy immediately, at the highest price points, and renew, and be nice to work with, et cetera, et cetera. 

17 insights. 6 rapid-fire questions. Read the transcript here.

Here’s what Jen Allen said about Leslie:Leslie Venetz. For those of you that don’t know her, she was one of the earlier salespeople to get on TikTok. And I know TikTok, in many ways, is perceived as not relevant for B2B. But, she’s a amassed a really big following. Some of the themes that Leslie touches on are things like women in sales, and diversity in sales, and how you show up and be your authentic self in sales, and just conversations that I think, as a result of COVID, as a result of like a deeper awareness of mental health, many times we, as sellers, are not comfortable having inside of our organizations. So I think she presents a really compelling view of things to be mindful of, things to be thinking about, as you navigate the sales role. —Jen Allen, Chief Evangelist at Challenger → Listen

What are 3 ways that your team converts your market into revenue?

Oh my gosh. That is such a hard-hitting first question. What are three ways that my team converts the market into revenue? Well, I don’t have a team right now, so it’s a bit of a trick question because I just left my corporate day job. I am a team of one, Chris. So three ways that I am converting my market into revenue:

  1. Focusing very heavily on referrals. And we all know referrals are gold. Often I don’t know what people’s needs are because they’re not maybe posting about those needs, but they might be having a conversation in private with somebody in my network. So, showing a lot of gratitude for referrals, and making sure that if somebody gives me a referral, I always follow up to let them know how the conversation went, good or bad. That’s been hugely productive for me.
  2. Showing up authentically to my community and to my market. To Jen’s really, really kind remarks, showing up authentically to my community, and to my market, and putting my message out there and understanding that it is absolutely not for everybody. Not everybody’s going to get excited about conversations around mental health in sales, or inclusivity in sales. But, for the right piece of my market, not the qualified but the ideal, that’s going to activate them and get them excited, and that’s creating some inbound action for me.
  3. I have tried to be really thoughtful about the way I can connect with people and expose them to my content and almost use social like a nurture campaign. So my ICP are early stage founders that give a heck about inclusivity and respect for salespeople and putting buyers at the center of what we do. So connecting with those early stage founders, just to follow their journey, and maybe what I post will speak to them, and maybe our journeys will align at some point.

So I feel like interestingly, the three paths that I’ve been taking to revenue for Sales Team Builder in the early stages have all been sort of indirect, but still really powerful, and they’re allowing me to put money on the books.

What are 3 hard problems that you recently overcame?

  1. Having the courage to quit my corporate day job. That was a big one, and tied with that, in November, I also got an insane job offer, 460K job offer, like a life-changing amount of money. It sort of makes me get a little flustered even thinking about the fact that I walked away from corporate America after 15 years. I walked away from this huge, huge job offer to follow my intuition, to be able to focus a hundred percent of my time on Sales Team Builder. I think that was a huge one.
  2. Years ago, but something I just really started getting to the place where I can talk about it more openly, I left a job after a sub six-month stint due to really aggressive verbal harassment, sexual harassment. It was my first proper Head of Sales job. So, I was so proud, and my ego was telling me like, “Stick with it. If you just work harder, they’ll see your worth.” And to snap out of that and have the courage to walk away without another job after only a few months, that was a really big one.
  3. Taking back control of my story. Just generally now taking back control of my story, and of my narrative, by talking about it, even though it’s not easy.

What are 2 roadblocks that you are working on now?

  1. Just having a little bit of chill. So, I quit my corporate day job, and I said to myself, this was the narrative I spun to myself, Chris, “If you were going to another corporate job, you would take probably a month off. And then once you’ve gotten that job, you would have a month of onboarding. So Leslie, replicate that. Take February and March to do some certifications, to figure out what good looks like in this new avenue.” And my husband a couple of weeks ago was like, “You worked all day today. I thought you were supposed to be taking time off.” And I was like, “No, I’ve only been working like six hours a day.” And so, I think trying to find that balance, that’s been a big roadblock for me. What does my new “good” look like? What do I carry forward? What do I leave behind?
  2. Deciding exactly where I want to focus. I’m a huge input person. I’m super curious. I want to get my hands in everything. So really having to force myself to say, “No. This is where your focus is.” And for GTM, we know how important that is, right? You need to know exactly who your market is, exactly who your ICP is, and that’s what you need to craft your product and your messaging around. It’s a lot harder too when you’re the product than it has when I’ve done GTM for other products. So that’s been a big challenge.

What are 3 mental models that you use to do your best work?

  1. Definitely mindfulness. For sure. One of the amazing privileges—I’ve been dabbling in meditation for quite some time. I have a very busy brain, so it’s always been something that I really struggle with—but one of the great privileges of being the full owner of my time is that I get to now start every single day with a short meditation, with journaling, with a workout, whatever it is that helps me be more mindful. That’s a huge one that stretches across any profession.
  2. Intention. I think something really particular to sales is intention. Am I doing an activity because somebody, at some point, told me that those were important KPIs, or am I doing that activity because it actually creates that that key result, that end result, that is most important to me?
  3. Authenticity. A third mental model is just around those pieces of authenticity—which I know is such a buzzword, Chris. I know! But it is important—beyond a buzzword, we can feel when the brands, when the people, we are engaging with are coming from an authentic place. Whether that’s cold copy that you just read and it kind of makes you cringe versus something you read they’re like, “Oh wow. They actually really took the time to care about me.” Or maybe something less pinpointed, I think the new evolution of how brands, and how salespeople, engage, it must come from that place of authenticity and immediately letting your buyers know that you are trustworthy.

What are 3 techniques that GTM teams need to try?

  1. Just pick a lane and try it. This is something I see a lot of my early stage clients struggle with. Maybe this is twofold. Just pick a lane and try it, and It might not work, right? But, you won’t know if it doesn’t work if you don’t pick that lane and really commit to it and try it.
  2. Clarity about who your ICP is. Really having a tremendous amount of clarity about who your ICP is. A conversation that I have a lot is talking about a TAM, talking about a total addressable market, is like sexy for like rounds and investors, right? But if we’re creating our GTM strategy, it’s not good enough to talk about everybody that could potentially buy. We really need to talk about who is most likely to buy immediately, at the highest price points, and renew, and be nice to work with, et cetera, et cetera. So I think really, really niching down, picking that lane, committing to it, to figure out if it works, or doesn’t work, and then iterating. At least in my experience, that’s something that a lot of GTM teams struggle with.
  3. Make it about your buyer. I heard a very funny joke last week that product-led growth is the artist formerly-known as “freemium”. I was like, “Oh, that’s a joke for a very specific audience!” There is this evolution that we are letting our customers tell us what the product should be, but there are still a lot of early stage founders who show up and say, “This is what the product is.” And if we’re not putting our customers, our buyers, at the center of what we’re creating, like what are we really doing here?

Who are 3 operators that should be our next guests and why?

  1. Meghann Misiak. Do you know Meghann Misiak? She’s incredible. I would highly recommend her.
  2. Kasey Jones.
  3. Jenny Anderson. I’m also going to give a shout out to Jenny Anderson.

Three other absolute bad-ass women in sales or founders in that ecosystem. That’s who I would recommend.