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Harold Brand's Blueprint for Transforming Engineering Expertise into Sales Mastery

Guest: Harold Brand, Chairman of the Board and CEO of CYBRA, a leader in the barcode and RFID technology space. Harold is a client of CEO Coaching International.

Overview: A good CEO understands his company’s core competencies. A great CEO also understands his company’s weaknesses. And the absolute best CEOs have the humility and long-term vision to get help shoring up those weaknesses so that they can Make BIG Happen.

On today’s show, Harold Brand discusses how working with CEO Coaching International’s Jim Weaver helped his technology firm grow into a sales and marketing juggernaut with over 2,700 customers worldwide.

Harold Brand on building a sales team from scratch:

“Building a sales team felt extremely uncomfortable. Number one, cost. Number two, we’re engineers. We’re just not comfortable in that world and having to go and interview people and hire them. I hate to say it, but it was a personality problem. And I was probably the biggest part of the problem, where I just wasn’t comfortable managing. I don’t consider myself a sales manager, so having to manage this thing and figure it all out, it’s not me. And therefore the company suffered because of my feelings. Besides all that, people told us over the years that building a sales team from scratch is complicated and usually doesn’t work. So fear of failure was a big factor.

“The idea of getting somebody else to do the selling for us, the idea of selling to large software companies and having them do the selling, was just far more appealing as a paradigm that would fit us better. I thought it was a good idea. I now realize that it’s part of the solution. Having a top-notch sales team is not a luxury. It’s an absolute must if you’re going to grow. And if you’re going to stay stagnant, what’s the fun? What’s the point?”

Harold Brand on making price irrelevant:

“My coach, Jim Weaver, said we should raise our prices by 50%. What he was saying is, ‘The value that you guys bring to the table doesn’t reflect what your prices are. Your prices reflect what your competitors are charging. You’ve got to put a BIG distance between yourself and competitors because prices are really abstract, especially in the software business. Prices could be anything. What you want to say is, we’re at least 50% better than our competitors and therefore the price is insignificant.’ Price is not the issue when it comes to software. Prices in the software business are irrelevant. Now, that’s a bit extreme, but we found that to be the case with Jim being so daring about making that transition.”

Harold Brand on letting people go the right way at the right time:

“Instead of making it personal, we said, ‘We’re eliminating this position. We’ll give you all the help we can to land somewhere else. We want to thank you for years of service, etc.’ And I always give them my personal guarantee that if you give me as a reference, and your future employer calls me, I guarantee you get the job. And it’s worked. I’ve never failed.”

“I’ll give you one example that was probably the hardest. We had one salesman who wasn’t meeting quota. So, I said, ‘I’m going to have to let you go.’ And he said, ‘No, no, please. Raise my commission a bit and I won’t take a base salary and keep me on.’ And we did. And every now and then he’d make a sale and I figured, that’s all gravy, because I’m not paying him anything. Well, my coach heard that. And he said, ‘Get rid of him immediately. The signal you’re sending is that you tolerate B- performance. You can’t have a company where B- performance is tolerated.’ And that was a hard pill for me to swallow, but I did it.”

A Seven-Step Process to Nailing Your Next BIG Acquisition – CEO Coaching International’s Jim Weaver outlines a well-planned, seven-step acquisition process that will help ensure proper execution, strong growth, and BIG profitability.

3 Questions to Ask When Building a World-Class Sales Team – If you’re looking to drive exponential growth, then your sales engine is the place to start.

About CEO Coaching International

CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 53.5% during their time as a client, more than three times the U.S. average, and a revenue CAGR of 26.2%, nearly twice the U.S. average.

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