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Decoding Sales
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Decoding Sales

Author: Peter & Alex

Subscribed: 3Played: 41


A podcast where an engineer (Alex Allain) and salesperson (Peter Ahn) demystify what it means to build meaningful business relationships in the modern age.
21 Episodes
What to do when you aren't making the sales.❓ The first question to ask when debugging the process. 🎎 How to figure out the right buyer persona for your product.🪓 How to tell you should fire your sales leader.🔬 The importance of being hands-on when sales isn't working.
What rookie salespeople get wrong - and how to avoid them.Key mindset shifts for new salespeople - and how to know you're making themKey rites of passageHow new salespeople throw away leads too quicklyHow to get feedback and support as a founderResources and linksEpisode on the price Episode on the first sales hireEpisode on sales mythsPeter's article on how the best salespeople are technologists The Authentic Sales episode covers the striplining conceptEpisode on It Takes a Village
How to write emails that get results - and when to switch to other channels.    - How do you know when an email you're writing is too long    - How Peter uses the "phone test" to tell if his email is going to get a response    - When - and how - to switch to text messages, phone or Slack (and how to handle it gracefully when your outreach is rejected)    - Why response speed is an underrated asset in sales    - How to frame powerful questions that get responses    - The one type of conversation you never want to have over email - and what to do instead
Facts and myths about salespeople What really motivates salespeople (it's not just the number!)What shapes customer perceptions of sales (it's not the average sales person)Peter confesses that as a professional sales leader, he doesn't know how to play golf (and why golf isn't an essential sales skill)Peter explains what's replaced the importance of the rolodex in modern salesHow Peter flips the tactics of normal salespeople to break through and win deals against traditional sales processesOne thing Peter says is 100% true of salespeople (hint - it involves a number!)Resources and linksEpisode on Building Client Relationships Episode on sales as a team sport - It Takes a Village Episode on Call Leadership Alec Baldwin clip from Glengarry Glen Ross Ben Affleck clip from Boiler RoomThe Market for LemonsBANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline)
Signing a deal is a legally binding agreement - and legal negotiations can kill deals. Learn the ins-and-outs of navigating the landmines separating you from the prize: how to avoid complex legal negotiations in the first place When you have to negotiate, where to give - and where to hold firmThe key things to never write into a contract - and what to do insteadHow to balance the sales and legal roles during end-of-deal negotiationsResources mentioned:Call Leadership Episode Authentic Sales and sales as relationship building 
Peter relives some end of quarter moments and discuss what it's like to experience that final inning rush. What does it feel like to manage the end of quarter close?How to prepare for the end of the quarter ... at the start of the quarterHow Peter manages the stress of both the buyer and his sales team at quarter endWhat are the typical last-minute holdups on deals...and how to unstick themAre quarters the right model for tracking sales?
Learn to catalyze revenue growth through your early customer community. How your first customers differ from later customersThe formula for finding and winning those customers (and avoiding the wrong first customers)The formula for creating systems to turn your first customers into referral enginesThe incentives that drive individual buyers to choose innovative products
Peter shares his experiences adapting to COVID, and How COVID upended and accelerated the traditional sales processThe new profile of the ideal salespersonWhat happens when things return to normal, what's changed for good, and what opportunities are opening upLet us know - how have you seen sales change and where do you see it going post-COVID?
 How Peter got his start in salesThe two key ingredients to advancing to sales leadershipHow Peter thinks about finding the right companyOvercoming stereotypes and how Peter flipped the script to turn perceived weaknesses into strengths
Episode 12: CRM 101

Episode 12: CRM 101


How to pick and set up your first CRM tool.What CRM does Peter recommend?How to quickly set up your CRM so you can get back to sellingCommon pitfalls setting up a CRMBeyond CRMs - what other tools do you need?As a bonus - what will the next wave of successful sales tools look like?
How engineering and product contribute to closing dealsHow NBCUniversal took a leap of faith on the Dropbox's team and visionHow a team-oriented approach build trust when selling a roadmap and visionWhen to pull in the CEO...and a story of Peter pulling in his CEO at just the wrong timeSales as the eyes and ears of the organizationThe pitfalls of a team based approach when not everyone's on the same page
How sales comp is structured - including real talk about numbersHow do you set a quota?More sophisticated bonus structures - how to incentivize business value beyond deal priceHow to change quotas as the business changes, without burning our your sales teamThe best compensation plans Peter has seen ... and the worstHow to negotiate sales compensation in the hiring process
📅 When to hire your first salesperson - and how to find them. ❗ Mistakes technical founders make in hiring and evaluation. ⚙ Why your first sales hire need to think like a technologist. 🤝 What you should NEVER compromise on. 🚀 How to sell them on your company before you've taken off. 💰 And finally - how much to pay them. 
Find out how CEOs blow their demos - while thinking the call went great.How to prepare for a demo without sounding scripted.How Peter handles curveball questions during a demo.Why feature dumping doesn't work - and what to do instead.How to handle a distracted prospect.Getting meaningful feedback at the end of a demo.When demos aren't the right tool, and what to do instead.
Episode 7: The Price

Episode 7: The Price


In this episode Alex and Peter break down potential pricing models and how to think about conveying your price if you're a startup.  Topics covered include:Different pricing models to explore in SaaSPositioning your price and different negotiation levers you can employ to get a deal doneHow to think about discounting and the discounting boundaries based on company size & deal timelinesAs always, feel free to email us at with any feedback.  If you'd like to do some reading on price, visit Peter's blog post on "Conveying why the price is the price"
In this episode Alex and Peter discuss how to structure effective proof of concepts to help get the deal done while keeping the prospect accountable to specific milestones. Topics include:The collaborative aspects of setting up a mutual proof of concept structureHow to establish tangible success criteria for the evaluation periodWhat milestones to track throughout the POC periodHow to determine which prospects need a formal POC structure How to hold prospects accountable to meeting POC milestonesShare this episode on Twitter or LinkedIn and reach out to us at for a copy of a real proof of concept template!
In this episode Peter and Alex discuss how client dinners and meals outside of the regular cadence of emails & calls, can positively impact deal progress. Topics covered include:When to offer client dinners & meals How to make these engagements productive and fun at the same timeThe importance of conveying your authentic self and culture during client mealsIf you have feedback about this episode and any future episode topics you'd like to see covered, please email us at!
In this episode Peter and Alex discuss how to handle unexpected obstacles that come about during a high stakes negotiation.  Topics covered include:How to handle prospects asking for additional discounts when they've agreed to a floor alreadyThe ability to think aloud during a negotiation call while using common language to bridge differencesWays to ensure the deal does not get delayed and that you can still pin down a realistic close date, even when curveballs are thrown at youFeel free to email us at with any feedback on this episode and future episode topics you'd like to see covered! 
In this episode Peter & Alex discuss what it means to effectively lead business calls and conversations.  Key learnings include:How to start strong with a powerful introHow to give the floor to the other person on the callThe importance of laying out a roadmap for the callEmploying "bridge phrases" to naturally jump from topic to topicSetting up tangible next steps and ownership for those next stepsFeel free to email us at with any feedback on this episode and future episode topics you'd like to see covered! 
In this episode Alex and Peter discuss what it means to effectively find the right person to champion a business deal.  An org chart is oftentimes not enough to map out an impactful strategy to navigate stakeholders. Tune-in to this episode for some tips around how to mobilize your prospect and perhaps even more importantly, how to also cut your losses and move on from ineffective deal sponsors. Feel free to email us at with any feedback on this episode and future episode topics you'd like to see covered! 
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