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The Sales Podcast


Nov 25, 2014

About Today's Guest

Tom Blue on The Sales Podcast #96

Tom Blue was a Mississippi boy until he was 10, then moved so SoCal where he sharpened the entrepreneurial skills his grandfather passed on. Now he resides in Boulder, CO where he makes cool software to help professional salespeople, sales managers, business owners and entrepreneurs get hot leads sent to their inboxes daily.

Tools To Thrive

Rubber-Meets-The-Road Tip

  • Tom looked up to his grandfather who started a lot of businesses and it seemed really interesting and “it never seemed like work.”
  • He attended USC where he saw the power of being an entrepreneur but he didn’t launch his own venture right out of college in 1995.
  • The internet was really taking off and he was doing coding for Hughes Aircraft. Next thing he new he was teaching database development courses at USC.
  • He got a coding job at an ad agency but he noticed the recruiter that got him that job “didn’t seem to work very hard.” (See a trend here?:-)
  • Tom then started a recruiting business to put techies into California companies. He would target VC firms and the companies they were funding and/or bringing on new staff and reach out to get them as clients. This took a lot of time so he decided to create a system to streamline it.
  • In 2000 the writing was on the wall that the DotCom bubble was bursting, so he started exploring his new business that became Lead411, which focuses on salespeople because in good times and bad, companies need good salespeople.

[Tweet ""In good times and bad, companies need good salespeople" says @lead411"]

  • He considers himself an entrepreneur but he had to learn how to be a salesperson. He learned he had to uncover what was important to the client then go find that right person for them.
  • You need a network of people that trust you as well so it’s all relationship building. Most coders hate recruiters so he has to convince them that he’s looking out for their best interest.
  • He started Lead411 as a free offering in May 2001. After 9/11 the VC options collapsed and he was forced to charge for the subscription, but when he launched he stamped “beta” on the launch and let people know they would charge for it eventually.
  • They did keep a freemium component to keep people around.
  • Looking back he would’ve charged more in the beginning.

[Tweet ""It's okay to charge more in the beginning!" says @lead411"]

  • He's not a Data.com or ZoomInfo but he is looking to grow his offering. More of his clients are looking for more contacts.
  • Has had a team in India for 10 years. Uses tech to find the news and live editors to make sure the data is accurate and not duplicated.
  • Everyone is virtual in his company. One salesperson in Santa Barbara, Sales assistant in Arizona, Developer in Boston, data entry team of 10.
  • Boulder has the most startups per capita so he moved there to grow his business.

[Tweet ""Go where the growth is. It really is that simple," says @lead411"]

Links Mentioned

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