My friend and former manager Brian Weinberger while I was at Segment is my guest contributor to today’s blog post. This story is special to me for so many reasons. And today of all days it’s perfect mojo for all you hustlers closing out your month, or your fiscal today! Good luck to everyone! First, it’s a true and unedited description of the real sales hustle and the emotional high’s and low’s that we all live day to day when we’re closing a deal – all the while wondering if we are going to make our number, be a contributor, or perhaps even come out a hero. Second, this type of win story is the fuel that keeps us going when we need to dig deep to find that “magic”. And lastly, this is the kind of hustle that creates true partnership, friendship and collaboration – not just with your team – but with your Clients too. The part of this story that Brian doesn’t know, is that when said Company emailed us at 7pm on January 29th for a pricing meeting at 9:30am on January 30, I was at the gym getting in a workout. I rushed home on adrenaline. I felt it in my bones that I needed to be in New York with my team to collaborate together in our HQ office and stand united to present our strategy for this pricing call. I was pacing my house contemplating this decision in my home office (in Boston) when my 6 year old looked at me and said “Mommy, you have to go! Right now!” I promised him in that moment that when I close this deal, that mommy would take the whole family to a trip to Disney World. The guilt was pouring out of my heart. But his eyes gleamed with joy. He helped me pack my bag, say my final goodbyes, and I called an Uber to the airport while I booked my flight while en route. When I arrived in NYC at 11pm that evening, I was still in my gym clothes. The front desk assistant told me our block in NYC was having a water issue and there was no running water – not just in the hotel, but in the entire city block. I went to bed exhausted, exhilarated and running on adrenaline for the day ahead. When I woke up at 6am the next morning, I was told the water would be coming back within the next 30 minutes. So I went to the gym and hopped on a treadmill for a 5 mile run to get my head in the game. When I arrived in my room… still no water. I bought 4 bottles of Dasani water and got creative. (This caption photo is my commemorative selfie.) I was in the office by 8am. On the phone negotiating with the Client at 9:30am. And closed won that legendary deal on January 31st. We went to Disney World for March break. And it really is magical like they promised it would be. And today, as we live a totally different life in a totally new world, with no business travel and no family vacations, these are the moments and the treasures that I carry with me. My fuel. My fire. My magic. My why.
Written by my guest contributor and friend, Brian Weinberger.
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all of us command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise
As we all approach Q4 and January we all begin the journey believing…we believe that all of our hard work, our grind, our time spent learning a new set of products, falling on our face, getting into a conversation with the most technical people in the world that within 5 minutes is way over your head…but we still believe. It’s that ounce of belief, and for others probably, even more, that keeps us moving and waking up to do what we do.
It’s around January 16 or 17 (less than 2 weeks before the end of fiscal!)…and Tania mentions to myself via slack that she was able to secure an on-site meeting with a large multi-national retailer. Without hesitation, we all chime in “In” and “Let’s Go!”. We book our flights. We believe we have a chance to do a 1 call close..they have all of the right people at the table after all. BTW – Tania’s plane coming was descending towards the runway, only to abruptly have to turn back up…(not making this up!). She almost did not make it. Anyway, the meeting goes ok…we can tell they did not fully believe and there was no possibility for a close in the current quarter.
We head to the airport only to learn that Tania’s flight back to Boston is super delayed and there is no wifi at the Airport..someone cut the line #$%^WTF??? How are we going to propel our January deals forward without wifi? While on the phone while at the airport, Tania mentions to the team that just hours before, a multi-million dollar global supply company (Canadian “Company” – hence the anthem) had emailed her asking if we can solve X (right before her plane had to make a crazy turn back up to the sky.)
They asked Tania if we can help get their proprietary data off of their database and into a database of record. For context, a couple days prior, this same company had told Tania they did not have budget for any programs. Tania proceeds anyway, because solving customer problems is what we do. (BTW – she spent the next 6+ hours at the airport without wifi.) We have less than 2 weeks before the end of the quarter. The end of the fiscal, in fact. How do you even begin to prioritize where you spend your time when you’re trying to close out your pipeline!
OK, so the first call with Company is set up for Thursday afternoon January 24. We huddled internally earlier that day to prepare for this call. During the call with the Client, Tania playfully coined our collective efforts as Team January setting the stage for a (long-shot) January close. WITH 5 BUSINESS DAYS LEFT IN THE QUARTER.
Tuesday, January 29…will be forever be epic:
- 1 pm est: Technical Solution Overview
- 3 pm est: Executive Alignment across Segment CEO and Client CDO
- 4 pm est: Pricing Review
Goes well and here is why. We showed them one product. And held back everything else. Remember… they said they had no budget for our entire solution so we played on that. And in that moment something magical happened when they said: “We want everything”. One of my favorite things about SaaS sales is when the shift happens from us selling, to the customer buying. We could all tell they were locked in.
We receive an email later that evening that their CDO wants to have another pricing review the next morning at 9:30 am. And they want the entire Segment CDI solution (The Triple Crown)!!!
Wednesday, January 30th:
We huddled at 9 am the next morning..we aligned and got ready to negotiate…the plan was to get the Client speaking first and confirm he can sign if we meet his price. BTW – we knew we would not meet his exact price target.
So we leave the call and we had all agreed to this dollar amount…which was well above the Client’s target, but effectively an incredibly negotiated and preferred price for the solution they were getting. Now, the next biggest roadblock. The MSA. We remember the data point their CDO had shared with us “I will do my best. But be aware we still have an outstanding MSA with other companies that we have promised for the fiscal and we may not even be able to get to those! ” That lingered in all of our heads.
Well, as expected we do not get any redlines back on January 30.
Thursday, January 31st:
Tania sends off a very clean and clear email the morning of January 31 outlining how the day should and can go.
Well, the day did not go anything as she’d outlined. At 5:52 pm est – just as we were all beginning to lose hope – we received their redlines back!!!! And they are not that red…could it be???…We All BELIEVE!
Our legal team being on Pacific time zone, swoon in to review their redlines..there were a few items we simply cannot agree to.
We send our comments back…Tania receives a call directly from the CDO about the most important item we must agree to in order for the Client to sign tonight. So there is hope after all! We hop on several calls throughout the evening with the Client. Deal desk was critical. Order form came next. Then Tania publishes the DocuSign as if she were Luke Skywalker in Star Wars blasting the only possible bullet to destroy the death star.
What a win! What a team! You have to Believe!