PODCAST: A startup’s challenges of innovating and selling software products

BY:  Rebecca Herson
June 16, 2022
5 MIN. READING

Second Nature’s CEO and Co-Founder, Ariel Hitron, joined Ton Dobbe of Value Inspiration on his show, the “Tech Entrepreneur: On a mission” podcast, this month to talk about the challenging journey of innovating and selling software products.

Ariel discussed his personal journey in building and selling Second Nature’s sales solutions, an artificial-intelligence (AI)-based sales training solution. He shared insights that can help other entrepreneurs to set up and gain traction with a software business in a crowded market.

The Second Nature journey

Ariel explains how he came up with the idea of Second Nature based on his own experience in product marketing and sales training, together with observing the rise of voice-directed tools like Alexa and Siri.

As he puts it, no one was offering sales training and coaching certification that uses AI for a free-flowing, immersive conversational experience. Second Nature offers a realistic, AI-powered simulation that allows sellers to practice sales conversations in a safe space and receive immediate feedback, as many times as they like.

Listen more than talk, practice more than perform

As the leader of a sales tech company and with years of experience in sales, Ariel knows the challenges and tricks of selling software from every side. “Sellers get materials and messaging from product marketing, but the reality is that nobody cares about your messaging,” he says.

Software sales success, Ariel explains, hinges on relevance, and that’s about listening more than talking, understanding the precise pain points of different personas, and being incremental in your asks. It’s a complicated challenge, which is why sellers need to practice their sales conversations with a realistic, responsive role play partner, at the same time as receiving consistent and timely feedback that helps them improve.

Ariel compares it to sports or performance art, where you’d never see a pianist say they only play at shows, or an athlete who says they never practice, they just play at games. Practice – and feedback – make perfect.

Expect the unexpected

Ton and Ariel agreed about just how much every type of startup and sales process relies on being people-focused. “At the end of the day it’s a people world, and they aren’t all in sales,” said Ton.

Ariel described how surprised he was at the way that customers took his solution and ran with it. Second Nature had their own plans for future use cases, but customers came to them with completely different ideas, like using Second Nature to train managers to have coaching conversations with salespeople, or teaching management personnel how to navigate difficult conversations with employees.

The dos and don’ts for aspiring entrepreneurs

Ariel admitted that he doesn’t have a crystal ball that can reveal the “secrets” of success, but he does share what worked for him. His dos and don’t for software entrepreneurs include:

  • Do be very attentive to your customers’ needs
  • Do take things one step at a time. Ask yourself “what do I have to conquer right now?” and then focus on just that hurdle
  • Don’t get distracted by other possibilities. For any given solution, there are likely to be many opportunities where it could fit, and that can take you away from your core purpose.

Software sales success is within your grasp

Closing enterprise sales for software solutions isn’t easy, but as Ariel and Ton reveal, it is possible when you stay focused, make the right decisions, and ensure that salespeople get the targeted practice they need.

Listen to the full podcast here

For more information on how Second Nature can help your business with sales training, click here.

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About the author

Rebecca Herson

Rebecca is head of marketing at Second Nature.

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