I met Ethan Bloomfield back in the late 2000’s just after he joined Jobtarget. I had just outsourced my job boards to them and was having a myriad of problems with their technology. But Ethan worked patiently with me and their team and eventually Jobtarget became my most trusted partner.
A few years back he left JT and joined a little startup call ZipRecruiter and has risen that rocketship to new heights. ZipRecruiter is now a huge player in the online recruiting space and Ethan was at the helm of that ship running their sales team. The guy knows how to generate leads and increase sales. I’ve seen him do it twice now.
He called me recently to announce he was leaving ZR to form his own consulting practice. And now Vitalfew.io is born. I asked him to answer a few questions about the new venture to tell us more about his new firm. (Since I still do a little consulting of my own he even asked me to be on his advisory team)
1. Whats the purpose of Vitalfew?
Pretty simple. The purpose of vitalfew is to help organizations grow; on a contract basis.
The only difference between what I am doing now, and what I have done int he past is that I am leasing my services versus selling them on a full time basis.
I had a couple of ‘self-actualization’ moments of the past year that lead me to vitalfew:
a. I wanted to work for myself, but I didn’t see the need to spin out new technologies right now. I’d rather help some of the amazing companies in our space go “next level”. There are some interesting things happening in our space, and I want to be part of them.
b. I know what I am best at: growth hacking start ups and growth stalled tech companies. I am able to come in and help plan and execute, using my proven strategies and continue to provide on going support.
c. I have an incredible network of 100% “A” players, and wanted to bring them together. It’s a sum of the parts.
2. Whats the main thing startups get wrong when it comes to sales?
They don’t accurately understand how to measure and manage sales and often believe in false positive or negative test results. They also hang on to failing strategies for way too long, burning important cash.
My play book in sales hacking is pretty simple :
Step 1: Define success metrics.
Step 2: Pilot sales with one, very strong seller.
Step 3: Map the conversion metrics (leads to sales) and the steps in the process; don’t focus on the revenue.
Step 4: Hire 3 more reps.
Step 5: Test and refine; focusing on product, pitch and price.
Step 6: GROW IT.
3. How can you help them overcome this problem?
It is very important to understand that we will not help all companies. It starts with determining what the market opportunity is for the products and making sure we are aligned with the Executive team.
From there, we will follow a prescribed formula for implementing a successful strategy:
- vitalassess: from front line CS to CEO, we evaluate your business, product, price, process, people, culture and provide a complete diagnostic report.
- vitalplan: we identify the key areas that can provide the biggest impact on growth
- vitalexecution: we manage the implementation of the strategies
- vitalreview: we study the results, make adjustments and implement improvements
4. What was it like helping take Ziprecruiter from startup to a major player in online recruiting?
Zip. Zip. Hooray! ZipRecruiter is an amazing company built on the skills and experience of amazing people. The experience was so incredible, that we have agreed to continue working together (they are my first client!).
One of my favorite stories about my time at Ziprecruiter goes back to my first months back in 2012. At the time, Mandy Schaniel and I were the first sales oriented folks on the team of 15. We spent a lot of time in LA with the founders talking about how to build the company; and of course Mandy and I spoke a lot about sales strategy. Now, it’s important to know that at the time, Ian Siegel and his co-founders were still were contemplating whether they were a “life style business” or preparing to be a “market leader”. In one meeting Ian, with the full agreement of his partners, said, “Ziprecruiter will NEVER have some big sales organization, and call center or boiler room.” I looked at him a little cockeyed, smiled, and said “Yes we will.”
5. Biggest lesson learnedd from your days at Zip?
I have to share two biggest lessons, not just one:
First, measure EVERYTHING. If you aren’t good at data analysis, hire people that are.
Second, hire “A” players. If you find an “A” player and don’t have an opening, hire them anyway. They have a way of making great things happen.