Most important steps to introduce a new product category I Interview with Paul Ironside from CommercialTribe

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Paul Ironside is the Founder and CEO of CommercialTribe and spearheads the company’s vision and strategy execution. He leads the company with the most important steps to introduce a new product category and win sales from the website.

For the first 18 years of his career, Paul built and scaled sales organizations at both Gartner and CEB. The corporate cultures instilled a sales rigor and discipline that has helped him to appreciate the complexities of sales management, operations, as well as the development of reps and their managers. From Paul’s vision came CommercialTribe.

Today, the platform enables assessment of selling behavior in simulated and live selling environments to provide unique insight back on an organization’s go-to-market readiness and help managers coach to the behaviors that drive performance. Paul shares very valuable lessons about introducing a new product category and their journey to win customers & leads for a newly established category for their product.


See an abstract of the interview on how to introduce a new product category

(…) Paul Ironside: They are maybe googling “sales manager efficacy or effectiveness, which I think is becoming more and more of a buzz-word today, organizations realizing that they need to invest in the development of their sales managers. They can certainly find a stat way. We’d like to think that, some thought capital that we’re generating and in publishing on the LinkedIn’s, of the world. Then, maybe I, ideally like to think is they’re talking to the gardeners or the serious decisions or the foresters, the analyst community. As people are talking about the different types of efficacy programs for managers that, they might come to learn about us that way as well. When they come to the website, we’d certainly like them to come to the website and somehow get kind of indoctrinated in our line of thinking to a certain extent. We definitely think we’re standing up a new category in this concept of sales management effectiveness. In other words, most organizations have made an investment in their sales managers and I think they would, I think your listeners would collectively believe that where your sales managers are deployed, who they’re deployed with, how often into what impact. It’s already that we can determine their success. (…) When they come to our website, I’d absolutely like them to have a better understanding and orientation for our point of view and get educated, in terms of the collective opportunity that they have to drive a better yield out of that investment. 

Pathmonk: Would there be certain types of metrics that you as a leader would be caring more or less about? Like what would be the set of metrics that are really important for you on a website level list of like the traffic that you’re getting? 

Paul Ironside: (…) We try and build progressive profiles, as individuals are coming to our site and they’re downloading a particular white papers, things of that nature.Watching videos, that they continually feel like they can give us, information to the point where they say, I’d like to talk to a, a sales executive and, or a consultant I’m trying to put up on our website ways that they don’t feel like they’re going to walk right into a sales cycle. That’s not typically the way that it works.

Pathmonk: Very cool. Are there any specific learnings that you made over the last couple of maybe months or even years that you’ve been working on the page to know, be able to generate more interest or to communicate that feeling that you were just describing before, that idea of you’re learning in the pages, there’s something you learned on how to convey your message better?

Paul Ironside: Yes, yes.I, I tend to over-rotate and try and put too much information up on the page as opposed to trying, collapse that into a single concepts and ideas that navigates particular personas. We actually sell into a handful of different personas and serving a number of different personas. Again, something that we need to take in consideration as somebody coming from a sales ops domain that’s a different persona than a chief sales officer coming into our site or somebody from the enablement buying center. Trying to figure out how to tailor those experiences differently is certainly some of the things that we continue to try and work on to sharpen them.

Pathmonk: I would love to switch gears. We’ve been talking about your website now. I would be curious now about you as a founder, especially in the early days, maybe especially because it’s a product, it seems to me where you need to be conveying the message really clearly so people immediately understand what the full value can actually provide. How did you guys get your first 10 customers?

Paul Ironside: So, so, one of the, I think strengths or weaknesses, sometimes in certainly our strengths, our ability to sell.So, I consider myself to be a professional sales exempt. I got our first 10 customers and I will continue to be kind of tip of the spear to a certain extent. I think I am best in front of customers and prospects and I am necessarily internally within the organization, building products and things of that nature. I’ve got much better people around me doing just that.Our first customers, and I would certainly suggest this for all founders and that’s just making sure that you understand the requirements that you’re hearing and what you’re going to subsequently have to do to deliver.