Account Executive

July 1, 2022

Episode #03 Highlights: Melanie LaCombe

💰Never Forget The ‘Old Gold’

Melanie LaCombe (AKA Mel) takes Taylor & Junior through a rollercoaster enterprise deal.

With multiple stakeholders, a fast timeline, & a huge roadblock; re-live how this deal went from "old gold" to her largest "closed-won" sale in just 4 months.

Have a prior closed-lost deal on your target account list?

Deploy Mel's tips from this episode today to bring it back to life & turn that opportunity into closed-won!

Guest Feature

Melanie LaCombe is an Account Executive at Twilio (was a Senior AE at AirDeck during our conversation). Her early life & career centered around academics; specifically speech & debate, then became a teacher. Her education background became an ideal launching pad for a sales journey.

Mel landed a BDR role at BombBomb in 2016 & never looked back. Jumping into sales development management roles & now into full-cycle closing roles as an Account Executive.

Melanie LaCombe

What problem Does AirDeck Solve?

Most eyes glaze over when any presentation, PDF, slide deck, etc. is shared. AirDeck breathes new life to these crucial, but dry B2B communication mediums.

They made it incredibly easy to add video & voice narration over ANY document or presentation.

Don’t just send a proposal & hope they understand it. Send an AirDeck & guarantee they do.

Deal Details

Where did the prospect come from?

  • Cold outbound into them. They had met with a rep a year prior, but it didn’t go anywhere.

Company type

  • A market leader in the social content platform space
  • Company is ~1,700 employees. Mel sold into the content marketing team (200+ people).
  • Reps were a mix of brand new hires & very tenured pros.

Deal Length

  • 4 months. The buyers needed to make a decision fast, Mel had to be faster.

Barriers to Overcome

  • A VP-level leader in her org decided to expand the deal last second. Overwhelming the buyers & almost losing the deal.

Buyer types

  • Users: content marketing team
  • Champion: seasoned content marketer who evaluated them in the past. Other priorities pushed the convo to the back-burner; but her new project brought it back.
  • Decision Maker: Chief Revenue Officer

Episode Highlights

*Note: timestamps correlate with full conversation

Research: Old Gold is the difference of hitting quota & President’s Club

(6:21) Sometimes the best path forward is going backwards first.

In sales this translates to researching past closed-lost prospects who met with you, but didn’t move forward.

At Pickle we call these prospect types “Old Gold”.

Need a quick win before the quarter ends? Or searching for a quota-busting whale deal?

Start mining for this precious resource in your CRM.

That’s exactly how Melanie found this massive enterprise prospect & opened the door to closing her biggest sale yet.

Here’s how she describes her account research process:

Prospecting: Using Spears: Clustering prospect touch points overtime.

(9:49) Thanks to Justin Michael’s Method, Co-founder of HYPCCCYCL, Mel adopted Spears.

She booked a ton of demos (including this one) since implementing her version of this cluster approach to her prospecting strategy.

Here’s her general outline:

Proposals: Land first...then expand the deal

(24:21) We’ve all been there as Account Executives & full-cycle sellers.

Leadership demands higher average contract values. Looking to expand any deal in the pipeline.

But you’ve already built a strong relationship with the buyers & can solve their immediate problem. Putting you in an awkward spot.

When Melanie brought her VP into a late-stage meeting, he pitched solving EVERY problem they had with add-ons and packages. This complication stressed the buyer out & led to them almost walking away.

Here’s how quickly a deal can fall apart (Melanie saved it though):

3 Tips to Fellow Account Executives

1. Creativity goes a long way. Utilize personalization & humor.

While sales is a science, it is certainly an art as well.

The best sellers find creative ways to stand out amongst all the inbox noise buyers deal with.

Some way to stand out:

  • Create a personalized meme around a problem you know they’re dealing with
  • Send them some gift that they would appreciate
  • Personalize demos or slide decks with GIFs from their website

It doesn’t have to be crazy complex. Sometimes a simple touch is the difference in a deal.

2. Build a strong internal champion relationship.

Internal champions are what get any competitive deal across the line for you. Period.

If you haven’t built a strong relationship with multiple buyer-types in a deal…you’re behind.

When identifying a champion you should always understand:

  • What exactly is their role in the company?
  • How much influence do they tell you they have vs. what they actually have?

Ex. if you’re trying to champion an account executive at the prospective company, you need to know if they are a top performer with some sway over buying new tools for them. Ask how they approach the sales process, what deals they recently closed, etc.

Ensure you continue to loop in your champion every step of the way.

3. You know your deal in & out: stick to your guns

If you’ve built a strong enough relationship with your buyers & understand the urgent problem you can solve immediately for them…sell to that first. Expand after you land.

Sometimes your leadership will push you to expand the deal before the signature. Push back on this.

It’s incredibly tough to do. But you risk losing the deal when trying to pile on too much at once.

Be confident & provide your perspective. If you’re told to keep pushing & you wind up losing. You can put stock in the fact that you tried and now have more credibility the next time it happens.

Watch the full conversation

You'll like these emails 🥒

Pickle writes to their friends every few weeks with spicy tips to make their wall-to-wall meetings suck less.
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