Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My Rae

    It's impossible to summarize anyone's life, especially a life as well-lived as my Aunt (technically Cousin) Rae Spivey in a page. Rae was a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, friend, chef, real estate agent, confidante, caretaker, niece, all at once. There are a million ways to show how wonderful she was as a person, as a professional, as a caregiver...as anything really but I'd like to talk about two. The two for me that really summarize what Rae Spivey was all about.

    When I was really little I only knew two things for certain about Aunt Rae. One, that she lived in a magical home where everyone I was related to apparently spent all of their time and movies played constantly and soda just appeared out of thin air (In reality they just had HBO and a soda delivery service which to a 6 year old is magic and to a 30 year old is...still basically magic). The other was that she loved me very, very much. This was funny because I had absolutely no idea why. When you have a really large family there's no real explanation for why someone is related to you. No one really bothers to explain that they're your Grandfather's niece or Uncle's cousin...you just sort of go with it. I remember asking my Grandma as we walked up to the Rae and Tom's house once how we were related and my Moonie giving an explanation. While it was nice to know why Aunt Rae loved me so much I think the important thing is that it didn't REALLY matter. Rae loved me because...well it didn't really matter, she loved me because she loved me.

    Someone once asked Kurt Vonnegut what they should do with their lives and Vonnegut is supposed to have replied "make the world a little less lonely." Aunt Rae knew this without ever having to be told. Aunt Rae made everyone feel special, feel like they belonged, feel like they were LOVED. It didn't matter what you did, where you went, or what happened; Aunt Rae cared about you you because it was better if you knew someone cared about you. She treated you special because everyone deserves to be treated special. Aunt Rae loved you because loving and being loved is the best thing you can do.

    The other moment for me that really shows why Rae Spivey was so unique and so wonderful was when she took me apple picking. This was no ordinary picking of apples. I'd just briefly gone to, and then dropped out of law school and was spending a few days in Connecticut and was, more or less, a wreck. I'd failed. I'd attempted something and then absolutely screwed it up. I was a failure, a loser, an unemployed law school drop out. I lived in fear of telling family and friends what I'd done, and then ceased doing with no backup plan. I remember meeting up with Rae at the apple orchard and being TERRIFIED of what she'd say. Was she upset? Disappointed? Did your family still love you after you quit graduate school? 

    Aunt Rae did. She didn't say a word about any of it except she kissed me, gave me a hug and just said "You would've hated being a lawyer, you're meant for better things." To this day it is one of the top 5 all-time most important things anyone has ever said to me. Aunt Rae knew I was hurt and all she wanted to do was make me feel better. To know that that was what I needed, and how to do it is part of made Rae Spivey who she is. People don't fly as high as they can unless they believe someone will be there to catch them. Aunt Rae spent her whole life weaving nets, and letting people know that no matter what they did, she would be there to catch them. Aunt Rae believed in people, she cared about people, she loved people. She would tell you if you were doing something wrong, but she also knew when you just needed to know that when you fell, she was there to catch you.

  It's easy to think that, now that Aunt Rae is up in Heaven, enjoying the two hour phone calls, extended shopping days and bee-hive hairdos of Paradise that the great work, great love, great PERSON she was isn't around anymore but I don't think that's true. The good deeds in our lives make ripples in the world, some small, some large, some hit other ripples and make them bigger. These ripples don't stop when a life does. You might never know when Aunt Rae's life touches yours, in a kind word, or good deed, or even just that feeling that, no matter what, you're gonna be ok but that doesn't mean they're not there. The magic of Rae Spivey's life was that she lived to love and be loved, and that love lives on in everyone who had the pleasure to know this extraordinary, kind, and wonderful woman.

Oh, and if you have any spare cash donate it to the Pancreatic Cancer Network...cause Pancreatic Cancer SUPER sucks www.pancan.org 

Monday, May 19, 2014

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Using Salesforce

My very first day at Backupify was also the first day I started using Salesforce.
When I informed my boss of this he asked that I take the day, watch some tutorials and then come in the next day ready to attack the phones. Attack the phones I did but, as excellent as they were, the online tutorials I found didn’t make me as efficient in the beginning as I would have liked. So, I put together a list of things I wish someone had told me when I started using Salesforce.
1. When you set a task make sure you input the time zone
This is helpful for several reasons. For one thing it helps your prioritize your day by making sure you know what time it is where you’re calling. The other benefit is you know you’re not waking up someone in San Francisco or calling someone in England at dinner time. (They hate that.)
2. Put appointments on your Google or Outlook Calendar
No matter what you’re selling, you’re probably going to have a large number of tasks and leads in your queue at any time. It can be easy to forget that you have a demonstration at 3pm or that a hot prospect requested a call tomorrow morning at 11am. Putting items with a set time in your calendar ensures that not only can you easily see when it needs to be done, you’ll even get a reminder of it right before it happens.
3. Have a separate to-do list for long-term projects
I like to describe tasks as “things that require one button to finish.” That means you either hit Send on an e-mail, Save on a proposal or simply hang up the phone. If you’re working on things with many steps (like a blog post, for example) it’s helpful to put those in a separate to-do list. This also makes it easier when you open up Salesforce and look at your tasks for the day; you know exactly which items you HAVE to get done today.
4. Add every Contact to an Account
This took me months to learn. Often when working a potential customer, the person who makes initial contact with you won’t be the person you have a follow-up call with, and that second person isn’t the one who ultimately signs your purchase order. Every time you meet a new person associated with a customer be sure to put them into Salesforce as a Contact for that Account. That way if you need to contact a specific person in the organization you don’t have to go crawling through your inbox to find the right person; you can see everyone right in Salesforce!
5. Be consistent where you put your information
Salesforce has a large number of connected objects: Leads, Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities etc. Be sure to be consistent with where you put your information. If a potential customer returns your call, you don’t want to have to keep clicking from Contact to Lead to Opp back to Contact (maybe it’s near the bottom) to find out what price you quoted them. You’ll find it doesn’t matter too much where you put the info as long as you put it in the same place every time. (I like putting it in the Opportunity because it keeps me focused on closing, but that’s just me.)
Oh, and be really nice to any admin or phone operator you speak with. That’s not really Salesforce-related but just good advice. After all, you don’t want to be introduced as “the jerk on line five” when you get transferred, do you?

5 Tips for a Great Sales Demo

Originally published on the Backupify blog on August 27th 2012
Demonstrations are by far my favorite part of the sales process. As a kid growing up my grandparents actually used to have me do demonstrations at the flea market where they worked.
Demonstrations are a great opportunity to show not only how your solution can solve a potential customer’s problem, it’s also a great chance to reinforce how passionate you are about your solution and what it does for your customers. At their best, demos give prospects the chance to see not only how your product works but also how it can provide real value to their organization.
That being said, there is absolutely NOTHING worse than a boring demonstration. Watching someone’s screen as they listlessly click through a list of features you don’t care about (“It also comes in blue.” “I hate blue.” “…well then we can also make it come in not-blue.”) is one of the worst experiences a potential buyer can endure.
In my time at Backupify I’ve come up with a few general rules about what helps a demonstration really connect with a customer.
1. Ask the prospect what they want to see
You’d be amazed at how much a prospect likes being asked what they want — and shocked at how few salespeople do it. Simply dropping an e-mail the day before saying, “Hi, I’m really looking forward to our demonstration tomorrow. If there’s anything you especially want to see or learn more about, please let me know.” Asking this question not only makes sure the sales prospect is engaged and excited about your demo, it also gives you an opportunity to dig into these requests to better understand their pain points (“I see you’re interested in our local export feature, can you tell me why that would be important for you?”) and puts you in a better position to address those needs later on.
2. Lead with your “WOW!” moments
Every product has a WOW moment. Most have several. They’re the things that make your customers recommend your product, that make them write you notes about how much you’ve helped them. It’s our natural inclination to save these until the close of the sales demo, to really end on a high note.
Start with the WOW moments. Show your prospects the things that are going to get them excited about your product. Bringing these up in the beginning is good for several reasons. It shows them the value in your product early, when they’re still paying attention. It gets them excited about your product and will get them to engage with your demonstration. Getting your prospects excited will make them responsive to you, which in turn will get YOU pumped up about how your solution is going to solve their problem.
3. Tell a story
People love stories — way more than they love lists of features. It’s why we read books instead of outlines. Being able to pull together your WOW moments into a narrative will not only help you keep your prospect engaged throughout the demo, it also allows them to better understand how they would use your product and what kind of real-life problems it would solve. It’s one thing to hear about searching and restoring documents. It’s another thing to hear about an important sales presentation that was accidentally deleted and needs to be recovered for a meeting in the next 10 minutes. When you give people a story about why your product is valuable you let them build their own stories about why they need your solution.
4. Show AND Tell
It’s important during a demo to not only show what your product can do but also why it does that. Framing your demo in the context of a story can help, but make sure whenever you show off a feature make sure that you talk about the attached benefit. That way, “We can offer a local export of your Google Apps data” becomes “When a user leaves your domain you don’t have to pay for the Google Apps license to keep the data.” “You can search through your backups” becomes “You don’t have to spend hours navigating through all of your documents, you can search and restore the document in a few minutes.” Prospects want to understand not only what your product does but also how it can help them. Remember: You’re providing a solution to a problem, prospects want to know HOW you’re going solve that problem.
5. Make every demo feel like your third demo
Your first demo is always shaky because you’re new to the process. The second one is better but you’re still working out the kinks. The third demo is where you nail it. Not only do you have all the kinks worked out but you’re so excited because it’s new and fun and you’re killing it in front of a real live prospect. Make every demo feel like that. Prospects want to know you’re enthusiastic about your product. One of the reasons I love working at Backupify is because it’s a great product, I’m excited about using it every time I do a demo. Enthusiasm is infectious; if you show that you love your product it’s a lot easier to explain to your prospects why they should love it too. Be excited about your demo, change things you don’t feel are working and be conscious of the parts you really enjoy. Remember: there are no small parts, only small salespeople.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The best things that happened during the Boston Marathon

1. The sign that said "Go Dad?"

2. Walking to the starting line there was a group of guys with a sign that said "Cigarettes, Donuts and Beer." Everyone ignored them but I asked for a beer, chugged half of it and then walked with a distinct swagger to the start. I overheard a runner behind me mutter "That guy walks like he owns this city"

3. A family had camped out on the route and the Mom just pointed at me and yelled "GO RYAN!" so I yelled back "YOU RULE!" and then she yelled "YOU RULE!" and then I yelled "WE RULE!" then a woman running in front of me asked if she ruled and I said she did.

4. Turning onto Comm Ave and feeling dead and seeing my best friends Pat and Casey with a sign that said "Harnedy How Are your Nipples?" I kinda freaked and felt AWESOME.

5. About halfway up Heartbreak Hill I heard a SURGE of cheering and thought "man, I must really be killing it!" I looked up and saw the Hoyts about 20 feet in front of me inspiring everyone to do everything they ever aspired to do.

6. Going underneath the bridge at mile 25 and seeing everyone start to walk. I wanted to walk more than ANYTHING in the world but I kept jogging. When I emerged from the tunnel I heard "YEAH RY!" and my folks were right at the end of the tunnel and I vividly remember thinking "Man think how bad it would look if I'd stopped there."

7. As I turned onto Boylston St. in my head all I could think of was the classic conversation between Coach Taylor and Matt Saracen before the last play of the last game of the first season

Coach Taylor: "You got 1 more in you?"
Matt: "I always got 1 more Coach."

8. Seeing my friend Bryan for the first time and the first thing he said was "Dude, you beat Tedy Bruschi!"