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Brant was a typical IT guy, running a network and writing software. He was working for a manufacturing company that needed to get ISO 9001-certified for quality, so he became their Quality Manager in addition to all the other hats he was wearing at the time. Rather than using tons of paper, documents, and logs for the certification, Brant wrote the software to do it, and they passed their first audit with flying colors!
The auditor told Brant that it was one of the better software packs that he had seen. He suggested that Brant consider selling it. That was when the light bulb went on for him, and he knew that he had something valuable.
It was a big leap of faith because he did not have tons of money to invest in his product, nor did he have any investors. His equity was sweat and hustle! He did his research and knocked on the doors of companies that he knew needed his product.
The following year, Brant had their first product on the market, and he started selling it to local manufacturers. He got incorporated during the next 6 to 12 months. He did custom ERP solutions for many different industries as well as selling his quality management software.
Along the way, Brant was trained to be a Quality Auditor and a Quality Consultant. He also got into business process consulting in the manufacturing space and incorporated everything he did into a software interface.
Although most people consulting in the business process space hire programmers like Brant to write their software for them, which is usually pretty complicated, Brant did his in reverse. He got to where he is today by sticking with the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) method. His software is super simple. It has an easy user interface and a personal touch for customer service.
Selling something that he made that improved people’s lives was a game-changer for Brant.
Brant experienced explosive growth with QT9 Software within 3 years. They went from $1 000, 000 to almost $6 000, 000 in revenue with one salesperson and one person doing all the marketing.
He carved out the best way to sell his software and to reach the best people to sell it to by combining his sales and marketing into one.
Here is his process:
He nailed his sales and marketing.
He brought in good lead generation and started closing deals at a regular pace.
He brought in a sales rep, trained him to do software demos and respond to prospects and leads, and shared as much of his knowledge with him as possible.
He handed the reigns over to the sales rep and continued to support him.
He followed the same process with marketing.
Brant attributes much of his success with scaling to his hiring the right people. He recommends hiring people who are an exact fit for your mindset and the way you operate. After doing that, Brant stepped away and stopped selling but continued to support the sales and marketing side with his ideas.
To scale, you need to figure things out and get them down properly. Then bring in the right people to help you carve things out and deliver your message.
Hand things over to the people you have hired. Divorce yourself from the sales and operations side, and don’t feel compelled to keep on running things, writing software, or doing whatever your service is. Once you’ve got it down and your customers love you, transfer your knowledge and relay your information to someone capable of doing it.
Brant shares his top tips for cracking the code on selling for your company and then sharing that with your team.
On the sales side:
He put himself in his customers’ shoes. (He was the customer at one point, so he reconnected with that.)
He focused his message on his customers’ specific needs and pain points rather than pushing his product.
He relayed to his customers how he could solve their specific needs and pain points.
On the marketing side:
He did his own email campaigns and attended trade shows.
He utilized Google as his #1 source for bringing in things.
He looked for other ways to get people to find him. He used SEO and e-marketing methods. The e-marketing methods were fantastic!
When he found something that worked, he fine-tuned it.
Brant used a lot of trial-and-error to figure things out and get himself out there. He started his process by looking at who in Google Ad Words was a marketing source (not a competitor) on all the keywords his customers were looking for, and then signed up with those sources right away. He could tell within 60-90 days whether or not they would work for him.
The biggest mistake people tend to make while trying to scale rapidly is not having the proper infrastructure in place. Also, many companies do not understand that scaling sales is substantially easier than scaling service.
Brant advises you to focus on your employees and care for them because it is way better to have them believe in your vision and have your back every step of the way when you are having growing pains! Do the same with your customer base, especially new customers, and you are sure to see your growth go through the roof!
Links and resources:
Brant Engelhart on LinkedIn
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