Which Shoulders Do Angel Investors Want To Sit On?

Angel InvestorsCincinnati is not an area that is growing its population like in the south and southwest that stoke small business activity. However, it is home to Queen City Angels, the second ranked group of angel investors in the United States by CB Insights.

Forbes has named Ohio as the 11th best state for small business and number 1 for quality of life. And in a recent survey by consumer research company Value Penguin, Cincinnati placed seventh out of 200 U.S. cities in a report on the Best Cities for Small Business.

There is access to capital, a low cost for office space, and a good talent pool available. In a conversation with Queen City’s executive director, we learn about what’s required to start a business and attract angel investors.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM SCOTT JACOBS OF QUEEN CITY ANGELS.

AT WHAT STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT SHOULD AN ENTREPRENEUR SEEK ANGEL INVESTORS?   (2:53 in)

In Scott’s words – We like to engage as early as possible. We have a farm system.  (mentoring program, bootcamp,) We’re looking for customers who have a paying customer or two.

Insight – Connecting with entrepreneurs as early as the idea stage is useful in evaluating the viability of a potential investment in the company.

ASIDE FROM HAVING CUSTOMERS, WHAT PART OF A BUSINESS PROFILE ATTRACTS QUEEN CITY ANGELS? (6:35 in)

In Scott’s words – Friends, families and founders. We like to see them have a little skin in the game. They’re not just looking for our money to move their idea forward. We want people completely dedicated to this business.

Insight – Developing a business part-time on nights and weekends will not interest them. Having a good management team that is coachable is key too.

ASISE FROM PASSION AND DEDICATION TO THE BUSINESS, WHAT OTHER QUALITIES ARE IMPORTANT IN THE BUSINESS LEADERS? (8:15 in)

In Scott’s words – Emotional intelligence and the ability to manage the stress.

Insight – Awareness of their own weaknesses and strengths is important..

WHAT ARE COMMON MISTAKES ENTREPRENEURS MAKE? (9:05 in)

In Scott’s words – They’re overly optimistic about the strength of their idea. Companies don’t know the amount of money they need to raise.

Insight – Because multiple rounds of capital are usually required to fund a growing company, over valuation of a company’s worth in its early stages of development can hinder the ability to obtain capital.

FROM THE INVESTING SIDE, WHY DO PEOPLE GET INTO ANGEL INVESTING? (13:52 in)

In Scott’s words – It’s fun. It’s intellectually stimulating. They want to hear about new ideas and they want to help.

Insight – To be an angel investor you enjoy shepherding companies and investing your time and expertise as well as your money.

WHAT SHOULD THE EXPECTATIONS OF RETURN BE FOR AN ANGEL INVESTOR? (15:20 in)

In Scott’s words – We’re in for the long run. The year in which most exits occur is year eight.

Insights– Angel investors are usually putting in five hundred thousand to a million dollars in the first round of financing.

ARE ANGEL INVESTOR GROUPS AT A DISADVANTAGE TO VENTURE CAPITAL GROUPS IN SEEING IDEAS? (17:30 in)

In Scott’s words – No not really.  they need is more like practice management. What types of things should I look at to get to the next level….renewing that motivation

Insights – You’re wasting money if your sales training dollars are spent on standardized training for everyone in the sales organization.

WHAT TYPE OF COMPANIES ARE QUEEN CITY ANGELS LOOKING TO INVEST IN? (18:39 in)

In Scott’s words – Technology based companies, life science, IT oriented, the internet of things. 

Insights – They’re seeking companies that others want to acquire instead of creating the product or technology themselves.

Peak Sales Performers Are Out There

Peak Sales Performers
Results of Peak Sales Performers

If your businesses sales aren’t where you want them to be, it may because you don’t have any peak sales performers on your team. You have to stop hiring people with the wrong “stuff” and know how to get the most out of them. That’s the sage advice from my conversation with Tony Cole of the Anthony Cole Training Group.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM TONY COLE OF THE ANTHONY COLE TRAINING GROUP

WHAT ARE COMMON BARRIERS TO SALES GROWTH?  (1:18 in)

In Tony’s words – What are your systems and processes like? Did you hire (sales staff) them that way or did you make them that way? Does the sales managed environment have the right components?

Insight – Successful selling is more about you than external hurdles you may have to overcome.

WHAT DOES A COMPANY NEED TO DO TO HAVE PEAK SALES PERFORMERS? (2:38 in)

In Tony’s words – Hire them. The selection process is not simple. Most companies look for the wrong stuff.

Insight – To make the right hires possess a depth of knowledge about what you need and how you’ll recognize it in a potential peak sales performer when you see it.

HOW DOES A PEAK PERFORMER GO ABOUT DOING THEIR BUSINESS? (3:43 in)

In Tony’s words – They don’t do it alone. They have a coach. They spend a lot of time doing the right things and don’t make excuses.    

Insight – Peak sales performers take ownership of their role and put it upon themselves to improve or make changes to maximize performance.

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ALL SALES PEOPLE IN AN ORGANIZATION TO BE PEAK PERFORMERS? (6:16 in)

In Tony’s words – The answer is yes.

Insight – Peak performance measurements are different for each individual according to their experience and capabilities.

WHAT TYPE OF GOALS NEED TO BE SET FOR PEAK SALES PERFORMERS? (7:45 in)

In Tony’s words – They’re the ones that decide this is the peak they want to attain.

Insight – Goals are usually set too low and often are just suggestions. Goal setting from the top down is a mistake. If your sales people resist a bottom up goal setting process, you have the wrong people.

WILL TOP SALES ORGANIZATIONS MEASURE TIME ON TASK FOR ALL SALES RELATED ACTIVITIES? (14:54 in)

In Tony’s words – Yes. Most companies, even when successful aren’t hitting on every cylinder.

Insights– Often companies that hire outside sales development organizations are not broken but seek assistance to reach the next peak.

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE IN THE TYPE OF TRAINING PEAK SALES PERFORMERS SHOULD RECEIVE VERSUS OTHERS? (17:03 in)

In Tony’s words – The training they need is more like practice management. What types of things should I look at to get to the next level….renewing that motivation

Insights – You’re wasting money if your sales training dollars are spent on standardized training for everyone in the sales organization.

Where’s the Artist in Your Sales Pitch?

Art of Sales PitchWould you believe that the sales pitch you’re using today may not be your best at generating sales? In a study conducted by the sales consulting company, Corporate Visions, more than 86% of the companies surveyed said they used sales pitches that were different than what they judged to be the most effective.

So what is a good sales pitch? There are up to nine elements worth including.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM PAUL HEAGEN OF DEFINING MOMENTS ABOUT THE ELEMENTS OF A SALES PITCH.

#1 – WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?  (2:52 in)

In Paul’s words – A solution in search of a market isn’t going anywhere if you have to convince the market to use your product or service. People do respond to what looks like a fix in their life or business.

Insight – By identifying a solution to the problem in your sales pitch you’re helping rather than selling the customer.

#2 WHY DOES THAT PROBLEM MATTER? (4:09 in)

In Paul’s words – Our attention goes to our big ones.

Insight – If you help them realize the importance of fixing the problem, you’ll get their attention and trigger their desire to fix it.

#3 WHY HASN’T THE PROBLEM BEEN ADDRESSED BEFORE NOW? (5:16 in)

In Paul’s words – It sets you up for your differentiator.    

Insight – This question is a set up to introduce your product or service. The customer acknowledges what may have been tried before hasn’t worked or admits the problem has been ignored.

#4 WHAT HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT THAT NO ONE ELSE HAS? (6:13 in)

In Paul’s words – If you come to a discovery, an insight that other people have, there’s tremendous value in that. Let me tell you something we’ve discovered, that invites curiosity.

Insight – For entrepreneur’s in search of capital, knowing your position in the marketplace is necessary.

#5 HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS IS GOING TO WORK? (7:47 in)

In Paul’s words – I need some confidence that what you’ve set up is really going to work. Will the customer or market understand this as a solution.

Insight – If you have to take a great deal of time explaining to your customer how your product or service works, you need to re-think your presentation and simplify.

#6 HOW WILL YOU MAKE MONEY?  (9:31 in)

In Paul’s words – What’s the path to profitability? (for an investor or customer)

Insights– Value can be defined as money or time savings, efficiencies, and multipliers which generate money.

#7 WHY ARE YOU THE BEST AT DOING THIS? (10:38 in)

In Paul’s words – Can you execute on the idea?

Insights – Consider bringing into the pitch other team members responsible for executing the idea that make the customer confident in your ability to deliver.

#8 WHERE ARE YOU NOW? (13:08 in)

In Paul’s words – Sell new stuff to old clients. Sell old stuff to new clients.

Insights – If your pitch is to an investor, you’ll need to be clear on where you are in your development of the business. For old clients it’s a chance to expand your relationship. For new clients you introduce them to something you have delivered previously.

#9 WHAT DO YOU NEED? (15:30 in)

In Paul’s words – In a sales presentation it’s ask for the deal. Here’s what the relationship would look like.