VP of Sales for a Startup – You Better Have Technical Chops

I just read Andrew Chen‘s post Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing. It’s such a great post and I urge you to read it. The traditional role of a marketer historically, has been to help build awareness and customer acquisition. These days, Andrew notes, the role has expanded:

“The role of the VP of Marketing, long thought to be a non-technical role, is rapidly fading and in its place, a new breed of marketer/coder hybrids have emerged.”

As Superplatforms (10s of Millions of users) like Facebook, Zynga, Pinterest proliferate, marketers need to be able to integrate, test, and optimize them to fully leverage their network effects.

To succeed, a VP of Marketing has to know how to hack.

I have been thinking a lot about this idea and how it relates to business side of a startup. My role is VP of Sales. I was hired to build our revenue model and grow it. What I have found is that, to my delight, my role is much more than just traditional selling.

My conversations are no longer just with media folks or directors of online marketing. When evaluating partnerships, more times than not, I am speaking with CTO’s who want to leverage our API or understand our semantic engine and taxonomy capabilities. I had to acquire (and continue to acquire) what Andrew would call “technical chops.” Its was something foreign to me, but now sets me apart from traditional sales and business people.

(note – I have a long way to go when it comes to my technical smarts)

Moving forward, I think the most successful sales and business folks will have an understanding of networks and technology and how it affects their product/service, sale cycle, potential partnerships, and marketing goals. You will be at a distinct advantage if you can understand the emerging tech ecosystems and speak intelligently with the tech folks creating it.


SEOmoz Raises $18 Million – SEO is Not Dead

SEOmoz Logo and Roger the Robot (a.k.a. "...

SEOmoz Logo and Roger the Robot (a.k.a. “Roger Mozbot”) (Photo credit: jcolman)

There has been a lot of talk recently that SEO is dead. I never bought into the idea. And as of yesterday I can point to 18M reasons why you can throw this theory out the window.

SEOmoz announced an $18 million dollar raise via Brad Feld and the Foundry Group and Ignition Partners.


One more time, $18,000,000.00.

Deep breath.

That’s a huge sum of money. A huge sum of money invested into an SEO company. Now, I have every believe that SEOmoz will undoubtedly expand their offering beyond SEO. Heck, Rand Fishkin said they would in his post raise blog post (snaps on the transparency). But, Brad Feld, at least initially, is investing in an SEO company.

One of the luxuries of working for a startup has been to learn about some of the key people/investors in the VC world. I have never met Brad, but I do read his blog and consider him a leader in the VC community. He has a wealth of knowledge that covers a variety of industries. He can invest anywhere he likes, in any vertical he thinks has potential. I am going to venture a guess that if Brad thought so highly of SEOmoz, to invest big in them, that he too believes that the best days of SEO are ahead of us.

This investment speaks volumes for SEOmoz as a company and a service. Its a huge win for Rand and his team and I am ecstatic for them. At a macro level, I think its worth noting, this is an even larger win for the entire SEO community.

So is SEO dead?

Startups, Take a Hint from Dollar Shave Club – This is How You Create Buzz

Admittedly, I am late on this one. But, I am throughly impressed with the launch video from Dollar Shave Club. In the competitive startup world, you have to stand out and create something unique, that makes everyone stop and look. Judging by the attention, I think Michael Dubin and Dollar Shave Club has.

Hat tip to Science Inc for supporting this talented guy.

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Letting Go – Delegating Responsibility as your Startup Scales

English: growth chart of MBND

Image via Wikipedia

Its day two at SMX West and I am not there. The first two years working at Zemanta, I attended almost every search and SEO conference across the country. Necessary, as I was the only US employee at the time. It was exhausting, fun, and most importantly, effective. We introduced our brand, made connections, and new friends. The result, we built our business (yes!). But, this also means that I now have to balance travel with the needs of our clients.

I still travel quite a bit, but there are times when I don’t go and I feel like I am missing an opportunity. It was, after all, the relationships I made attending conferences, that helped scale our business. Luckily, we added some tremendously talented individuals to our team in 2011. The hard part for me is to let go of responsibility, even when i fully believe in the team we built. I want to do everything. But, you cannot scale your start up if you don’t delegate responsibility to the team you built. You will also burn yourself out trying.

We have an awesome team at Zemanta and we are going to add to it. I have to remind myself now and again to let go and let the team do what I know they are capable of doing.

Day Two: Search Marketing Expo West 2012 Live Blog Recap

Related Topics: SEM Industry: Conferences About The Author: Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick , a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable , a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here .

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via: searchengineland.com

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Sales and BD Job Seekers, You Need a Social Footprint

Candace Webb recently posted on the value of creating an online profile for college student (Link below) and how it can help with their inevitable interview process. I liked the points she made and hope more than just students took note.

Specifically, having a social presence should be an even higher priority for sales and BD professionals.

As someone who is currently trying to hire a sales executive at our start up, the first thing I do when a resume crosses my desk is to Google Bing the person. At the very least she should have a Linkedin account. But, I am more impressed, and more likely to interview someone, when she has a more robust social footprint. Does she have an active Twitter account? Is she a blogger (ideally with Zemanta installed)? Does she have her own branded site? Does she comment on other industry sites? Is she a Meetup member, attending events? etc.

Why are these important?

Hiring is not easy. Unlike large companies, making mistakes in hiring, can set a start up back. Finding the right people, especially for a start up is a long process and the more I know about the person, the more confident I am offering her a job. And, in my opinion, successful sales and BD folks in the tech world need to be able to navigate different social platforms. The ones who can, generally, will succeed in sales.

A social footprint also lets me know you are curious about the world and technology. Its means you have a desire to know. And curious people generally make good business people. They are not content with status quo, pushing boundaries, looking to expand their knowledge base.

Successful sales and business development professionals are generally social people who can get along with a wide variety of people. A social footprint, is just that – social. Let me know that you have personality and can interact with others on Twitter.

Having a social profile online is optional. We all have the choice to post as little or as much as we like online. For college students, as Candace notes, “creating a social presence can help you create a name for yourself without leaving your dorm.”

For sales and business development professionals in the tech space, a social footprint can separate you from the pack when it comes to getting a job with a start up.

How Social Media Can Help College Students

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Candace Webb, a social media practitioner who explores how social media impacts college students at DegreeJungle.com. Social media connects persons from every part of the world including underclassmen in today’s universities.

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via: www.socialmediaexplorer.com

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