September 7, 2023: Improve your sales talent

What happened to all the acquisition news, establish your business' presence in the US, and more tech news

Profile: Improve your sales talent with SalesQ

What is SalesQ?

SalesQ is a real-time sales coaching platform that helps sales leaders get their feedback implemented.

What was the insight/inspiration that led you to launch it?

In previous roles at Vidyard and HyperComply, I found that call recording platforms like Gong and Chorus were valuable for identifying coaching opportunities with our team. However, we faced a challenge in having limited time to ensure that coaching was effectively implemented by our team.

How has it been received by the market? Why do you think it has been so well received?

When sales leaders first see a demo of SalesQ the immediate reaction is typically "This will save me so much time."

I believe the reason why it's resonating so much is that 50% of sales leaders are watching 5+ hours of call recordings per week just to find out if their team is implementing the sales process. The other half of sales leaders are so time-constrained that they wish they had the time to watch calls.

How did you know you were ready to found a company?

Jordan (Co-Founder & CTO) and I had previously co-founded startups together, however, our previous ideas were never routed in a problem we had ourselves. When we started working on SalesQ it was to solve a problem that I experienced every single day of my sales leadership career. Having first-hand experience with the problem made the process of building an MVP that someone would actually pay for a lot more straightforward.

How did you meet your founders/know they were the right people to start a company with?

I met my Co-Founder Jordan met through a mutual friend 5 years ago at the University of Guelph where we founded a startup called Lendr. It was a peer-to-peer rental app for students to rent out their everyday items. The startup dissolved, however, even through that failure we remained friends.

Startups have a lot of highs and lows so it's great to have a Co-Founder that you've been through hard times with.

What has been the hardest thing on your journey so far?

Startups aren't easy and SalesQ hasn't been an exception to that rule. During the first few months of launching we practically had to beg people to adopt the tool. User retention wasn't good and we had to keep convincing our early users to give the product another chance. After several iterations user retention started to climb significantly, but it took longer to figure out than we originally anticipated.

What are you trying to achieve over the next 12 months?

We now have a solid foundation of customers so our goal is to become the standard way sales leaders get their coaching implemented by their sales teams. In order to do that, we need to get our name out there, so that's our biggest focus!

What advice do you wish you had been given prior to launching?

I wish someone pushed me to start charging for the product sooner. We only really started to learn what our product gaps were when we asked people to pay for the product. It makes everything harder in the short term, but we wouldn't be seeing the success we are now if we didn't start charging for our software when we did. The faster you start asking for money, the faster you learn.

Who are the 5 Canadian startups you like in your market?

Vidyard - video tools for virtual sales and marketing teams

HyperComply - making it easier to complete security questionnaires

PartnerStack - powering up your companies ecosystem

Proposify - untangle your sales document process

StackAdapt - helping agencies thrive through programmatic advertising

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Quick Take: What happened to all the merger, acquisition, and shutdown news?

Where did all the good stuff go?

Many people predicted that with significantly lower levels of funding 2023 would be filled with announcements of layoffs, shutdowns, and acquisitions. We have seen the layoffs but very few announced deals or shutdowns. So that begs the question, when will we see them?

Why haven’t we seen many shutdowns yet?

Two reasons:

  • Companies that haven’t raised a significant amount is capital or hired many people can shut down quietly. These companies never really got off the ground (e.g. cofounders started it but ended the efforts before customers, employees or financing) or were able to shut things down in an orderly way with our drawing any attention to what happens.

  • Startups that raised in 2021 were generally well funded and most adjusted their burn (via layoffs) to extend runway significantly. Some will use the extra time to get to milestones they need to raise again, some will become cash flow positive, some will be acquired and many will eventually shutdown. The thing is that this will happen over a much longer time than previous market corrections as there was so much excess capital in the system.

How about acquisitions?

Acquisitions take a long time to happen and if they are small they might not be announced. Couple this with reduced burn rates this will take longer to play out than expected.

So are acquisitions happening now?

100% they have already started happening. I think we are about to see a steady stream is muted announcements over the next several months.

it may have started on Tuesday with Rockwell Automations acquisition of Clearpath Robotics. This announcement may represent how the information gets out to the market.

What does that mean?

The acquisitions that will be disclosed will happen for one of three reasons:

  • Regulatory requirements. Public companies have to announce any material transactions and impact on the company. Rockwell is public and was most likely acquired to disclose the acquisition.

  • Retain the customers of the acquired company. Al the acquirer may want to retain the customers an figures an announcement will help do so.

  • For “successful” exits the company and investors will want to share the details.

In the first two cases, a press release will be issued with whatever high-level details are required and the news will be picked up by blogs and automated news sources.

In the latter case, the announcement will provide more details such as the acquisition price and post-acquisition plans for the acquired team. They will syndicate the news to mainstream media and make themselves available to discuss the deal.

What is the implication for clearpath robotics?

My guess is that this acquisition will result in the technology being more widely adopted but the terms of the acquisition were not great monetarily. The team and investors may have done okay but did not make retirement money.

What is going to happen for the rest of the year?

Many more acquisitions will happen, but most won’t be announced. A few larger startups will be “saved” via an acquisition but the terms won’t be great or announced.

The good news is that this is a normal but painful part of the cycle. The ecosystem will emerge stronger with experienced founders and team members ready to start the next big thing.

Reply to this email and let us know your takes, and what you’d like to hear about on a future episode

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