Buyer Vampires & Lead the Crusade

Buyer Vampires & Lead the Crusade

By Scott Sambucci | April 26, 2022

Hi Crew – It was all going so well, wasn’t it? 

The prospect replied right away to that outbound email… They couldn’t wait to see the demo next week… Then they loved what they saw and asked dozens of questions about features, integrations, and onboarding. They asked for a copy of the deck, a sample login, and a proposal ASAP.

Then everything stopped – no more email replies. No return phone calls. No more questions. The deal went dark.

Worse, when this happens over and over and over, that big healthy pipeline becomes a logjam of proposal-stage stalled deals accumulating dust for the past six months.

The problem was that the prospect wasn’t the buyer in the first place – that middle-of-the-org manager, director or assistant vice president wasn’t the decision-maker.

And most of all, it’s our fault.

We sell to the middle because it’s easier to book meetings. Because the mid-level managers reply to our emails. They take our calls. They want to see the demo, and then cheer after seeing it.

That feels good. We like getting the attention, applause and approval – those are fundamental human needs. Yet deep down, I think most of us know this isn’t the way to find customers, scale the company and make an impact.

Every day as company founders, we’re stepping out on the ledge, nudging farther and farther into the unknown. We have a burn rate that’s too high and an MRR that’s too low, and we’re afraid that what we built isn’t good enough, fast enough or flexible enough.

We all deal with imposter syndrome everyday. 

I feel it myself – am I good enough for our clients and my team? Am I doing everything possible? Could and should I be doing more? 

I have decades of experience selling, coaching and working with startups. I was the first head of sales at a startup that IPOed last year. A startup I coached just raised $100m on an $800m valuation. 

Yet I still get a little nervous before every Zoom meeting with my team, clients and prospects because I want to bring my best in that moment, in that call. I want to help them. I never want to let them down. 

We feel the need to patch the insecurity and uncertainty, so we seek applause, approval, and acceptance by going the easy way.

It’s at those moments we must remember that each of us knows more about our prospects and their problems than they do. That’s all we obsess about every day. Use that as fuel, as confidence.

You’re not a salesperson. You’re a CEO goddammit. You saw that problem that needed solving. You took the risk. You started the company. You built the product. You’re the one with the mission and vision to make an impact for your customers like no other company in the history of the world.

Plus, you’re already helping customers just like the next prospect, and those customers LOVE the results they’re seeing.

Now, I’m not saying ignore Bob the IT Manager, Sarah the Sales Manager, and Rasheed the Marketing Director.

In fact, they’re a lot like you, dealing with hard problems of their own everyday – staff turnover, aggressive growth goals, and performance metrics handed down from above… Figuring out daycare and summer camps for their kids.

They’re sucking the life out of you because they have a survival instinct of their own.

With all of the problems, troubles, and frustrations they face everyday, your product gives them hope – a path to less worrying and more doing so they can nail their number next quarter.

They want that bonus to pay the bills, save for sky-rocketing tuition, and chase after the down payment for that house.

The best way to help them is to lead them.

Climb the mountain of your prospects’ org chart – those SVPs, EVPs and CEOs are your peers – they want and need to hear from you. They want and need to learn from you. If they knew what to do and how to solve their problems, they would have done so already. 

There’s a reason you started your company, a reason you check your email at 10:30 at night and work on the weekends when you know you shouldn’t. There’s a reason you get stressed out when the product release is behind or when a customer complains.

Lead your buyers. Lead your sales process. As Davis Sandler once said – “If you don’t have a process for selling, you’re at the mercy of the buyer’s process for buying.”

Lead your crusade.

– Scott “You Got This” Sambucci

P.S. Would you like some help dealing with those middle-of-the-org managers in your sales pipeline?

(I call them Buyer Vampires because they can suck the life out of you…)