Today we’ve got the inside scoop on the one and only Cole Ackerman, Director of Sales Development at Abstrakt!
Cole lives and breathes sales and can have a conversation with anyone. From his SaaS sales experience at PandaDoc and OfficeSpace Software, he brings a creative approach to Abstrakt. Learn all about why he chose to join a startup and what motivates him to not only stay in sales but to excel in sales.
Question #1: Tell us a little about how you found Abstrakt and why did you decide to join a Seed stage startup?
Answer #1: I actually was introduced to Abstrakt through a friend of mine who invested in Abstrakt.
A very casual conversation about the product turned into a serious introduction to Greg and the rest of the team. The more conversations I had with the leadership and even board members, made me draw closer to the vision that everyone has (including myself).
Question #2: What are a couple of things that have made you successful thus far in your sales career?
Answer #2: The biggest thing for me has been a desire to learn.
My mom, wife, mother-in-law, uncle (the list goes on and on) are all educators and I always have a desire to learn something new every day. Desiring to learn also means you have to be naturally curious, which is something I have used to my advantage throughout my sales career.
I always try to find a way to ask the what/why/how questions to potential customers, which puts them where they should be in discussions…topic of conversation.
Question #3: What are two or three skills that you believe SDRs/BDRs should possess?
Answer #3: Something I was taught very early on in my SaaS sales career was “control the controllables”.
The most successful sales reps that I have worked with controlled what they could control, which are things like daily metrics. You can’t control how many people are going to pick up the phones, respond to your emails, or even take meetings.
What you can control are things like daily output.
If I know that the industry average for connections is 10%, then I can figure out how many at-bats I’m going to get a day. If I make 10 calls, I’m going to talk to 1 person. If I make 100 calls, I’m likely going to talk to 10 people.
It’s finding a balance of what you can control and tuning your skills every day.
Question #4: Where do you look for motivation or advice?
Answer #4: One thing I hold very close to my heart is relationships. I have an incredible network of successful professionals that I have worked with over the years and all of them are successful for different reasons.
I bring that up because depending on the type of advice or motivation I may be seeking, I know exactly who I can have a conversation with. I take great pride in the friends I’ve made throughout my SaaS sales career because they are truly friends for life.
Question #5: What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
Answer #5: I would say that I’m a golf nerd, but most people know that about me. My close friends and family know this because they are more than ready for me to stop talking about being done, but I am one quarter away from finishing my MBA!
I have been working on it for a few years now (slow and steady wins the race) and am extremely excited to use it to further my skills!
Question #6: Being in the sales world, how do you successfully work with marketing teams?
Answer #6: This will sound cliche, but alignment is the biggest thing. Alignment on campaigns, messaging, ICP’s.
All of these things need to come from a high level of communication from both marketing and sales teams. Oftentimes, both teams will have great ideas and put them to the test which is great!
It is important to take a step back and align with the other team on how the plan is going to be executed so both sides are working in unison.
Question #7: If you could give any piece of advice to someone reading this post, what would it be?
Answer #7: I would say whatever you are doing, do it with a purpose.
Find something you love to do and learn from it every day.
Control what you can control every day and you will continue to grow professionally and probably personally as well!
Thank you everyone for sticking around and reading all about Cole Ackerman, Director of Sales Development at Abstrakt. Do you have any other questions for Cole? Hit him up on LinkedIn and mention this post!
Stay tuned for our next Q&A post. In the meantime, snag a demo of Abstrakt.
A quick disclaimer: None of the tips I give should be considered business, legal, or financial advice. I’m just sharing what has worked best for me but you should always carefully consider all your options.