An Interview with Taylor Foster, Sales Director at an app development company

Taylor Foster started his sales career as a retail associate at T-Mobile before landing his first Account Executive role. He is now the Sales Director at app development company Crowdbotics. Some of his more personal achievements from his time in sales: taking a call with Bill Nye the Science Guy and successfully cold-emailing Mark Cuban. He is based in Lexington, Kentucky and travels often. 

You started your career as a retail sales associate at T-Mobile. Did you learn anything in retail that has helped you in B2B? Anything you miss (or don’t miss) about working with the public?

Working in retail is like that quote from Forrest Gump — it’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. You deal with people from all walks of life, and it quickly teaches you that the same sales process doesn’t necessarily fit every buyer. Customizing your approach, the way you communicate, and the connection you make is ultimately what leads to wins in any setting. Sales is psychology. You have to start by truly listening (and asking open ended questions to learn more), then start to help the buyer make connections between pain points within their current setup and what it leads to downstream. Only then will you understand how your offering aligns with what your buyer needs to create a win-win.

I actually got my first job as an Account Executive after serving the CEO of a local startup at that T-Mobile store. He gave me his business card as he left the store, and written on the back was an offer to interview at his company. I made the jump, got the job, and have stayed in the B2B world ever since. That said, the principles are the same: making authentic connections, asking and listening, and solving problems where you find a fit (and being honest when there isn’t one).

You sell mobile and web app development services and software. This is a very commoditized industry. What do you do in your sales process to stand out and win customers?

One of the big things we’re doing to stand out with customers is leveraging AI within our product as a tool to help customers. Outside of the tech we leverage within our product, we really consult and steer customers toward leaner starting builds — which is contrary to what you usually hear from sales folks. We actually advise you spend less up front, prove out your idea in the market, and get feedback from real users on what comes next. This leads to less waste, and more informed building using the voice of your end consumer. We also give customers 100% code ownership, and build in common tech stacks (full code) to ensure our customers only stay here if they are happy with us, and can leave or transition in-house anytime if it makes more sense for their org.

What does a typical work day look like for you? Walk us through it. 

A typical day for me is a mix of structured and fluid as my responsibilities are pretty wide-ranging as a Director of Sales within a fast-growing start-up. 

I usually start with focused work in the morning before the rest of my org is online (I’m EST, most are PST). This allows me to bust out work that’s on my to-do list from the previous evening, catch up on email, slack, and other communications, and do a deep dive in the CRM for pipeline cleanliness and closings for the day/week we anticipate. 

The middle of my day is typically a mix of customer facing and internal meetings — I still love to meet customers and help the team close business, although typically now I’m more limited to deals that really interest me or are strategic to the business.

I wrap each day with focused work that sets up my next day. A must-tackle agenda, time blocking on my calendar for anything extra I need to do task wise, etc. before heading out.

If you could do it over again, is there anything you would change about your career path?

Honestly, no. Although there are still many things I want to do and try, I have plenty of life left to live. Being in a completely remote setting for the past 5 years with organizations willing to give me solid work/life balance has allowed me to travel the world while doing what I love. My team and I have even met up internationally for a work week in Colombia, which is pretty unique to remote sales culture.

Also, I’m from Dallas and have always loved and admired Mark Cuban. In my first B2B sales job, I decided to try my hand at cold outbounding a whale. I found his Dallas Mavs email and reached out. I managed to get two replies. At first, I got a pretty swift “No”, but a seed was planted. Fast forward to my current employer, I was able to cold outbound him successfully, landing a meeting with his CTO within an hour of my outreach. After that, how could I ever change career paths?

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out and is considering a career in sales?

The product you sell, and brand you represent, are truly the most important things you can control as a sales person. The best sales jobs will be places where the product actually adds value and solves the customer’s problems. The worst will be the ones where you are constantly having to find a new spin to sell your product. Be a part of a brand and solution that is known and trusted, or help build a brand that can become that beacon of trust. Sales is of course about relationship building, but you’ll find it’s hard to maintain and grow any relationship without a great product and experience backing you up. Furthermore, be a person of integrity. If you say something, stand behind it and fight for what’s right, all the time, no matter what. You shouldn’t have to compromise and you should find an employer that can align with you on integrity. 

Beyond that, sales can be a grind throughout your career. Be ready to work hard, and persevere even when faced with long odds or tough prospects. Luck doesn’t make itself, nor does money :)

What is your favorite sales movie?

Tommy Boy. RIP Chris Farley, gone way too soon.

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