Sales Talk for CEOs: A Founder-Led Sales Organization with Usman Sheikh (S3:E11)

Oct 19, 2022 | Sales Talk for CEOs Podcast

So many founders make it their goal to get out of the sales role as they scale. “I can hardly wait until we can afford a VP sales to take over” is a common founder refrain.

While his role has evolved, getting out of sales entirely is the last thing that Usman Sheikh plans to do. In this episode we will learn what defines a founder-led sales organization and how you might change your mind about getting out of sales.

It all starts with redefining the sales mindset. B2B sales are not transactional. They come with building a relationship and the core currency of a relationship is the right information.

That’s how he got xiQ – Personality-Driven Sales & Marketing, started in the first place. He reached out to his SAP network to share his vision of providing more helpful data to sales organizations than they could possibly collect on their own.

This turned into more and deeper conversations with people in his network who eventually became his first 5 customers. Rather than change this approach, he expanded it by reaching out to more and more people in his network which created opportunities for his sales team.

Watch the podcast below or on our YouTube channel.

Highlights of this Episode:

[4:54] Fortunately for me, when I was at SAP, I was able to form a great network of

highly valuable and engaged and influential people

[7:15] I started explaining my vision, which was to be able to tap into this enormous amount of data that’s out there that’s relevant to sales but humanly it’s not possible to analyze and bring in, it started ringing bells.

[9:04] So it was very clear to me that listening to what the customers had to say, addressing their key pain points, and being able to bring novelty innovation to how traditional problems were solved was super, super important.

[12:47] … being able to hire the right mindset. Sales is not about selling anymore, it’s about educating. It’s about having a conversation.

[15:42] We have to make it easier to buy from us, and knowing our buyers better helps us do that.

[18:18] We take salespeople and we make them into tool jockeys, and that just takes time away from selling.

[20:03] Salespeople are only spending about 20% of their time with actual customers. 80% of their job is doing so many other things.

[21:45] We, by the way, drink our own champagne. Everybody uses xiQ. And one of the core purposes of xiQ is to help you spend less time on doing research, more time on selling.

[25:30] We’re still doing a lot of networking and finding individuals that can help us meet a heart lead leader.

[31:16] We are increasingly leaning towards partnerships and channels.

About our Guest:

Usman Sheikh is the Founder and CEO of Silicon Valley-based xiQ, Inc. a next-generation, AI-powered, SaaS platform for B2B sales and marketing. Prior to founding xiQ Inc, Usman served as Vice President with SAP, SE, where he held leadership positions in Product Management, Sales Enablement, and Digital Commerce globally. He left SAP to pursue his passion for developing next-generation technologies using AI at the intersection of B2B Sales and Marketing.


About xiQ:

xiQ Inc. is a Personality-driven Sales and Marketing Platform™ that combines neuroscience, psychology, and AI to understand the buyers’ mindset. xiQ reinvigorates b2b sales and marketing by doubling down on industry-leading personality and behavioral science to provide broader, deeper, and more actionable insights.

Companies using xiQ are able to increase their sales win rates by 4x, increase client engagement by 10x and realize ROI within weeks.

xiQ Inc. won the award for ‘Best Use of Martech for Demand Generation’ in 2022, was recognized as a Leader in ‘G2 Enterprise ABM Category’, and was named a ‘Cool Vendor for Marketing Technology’ by Gartner.


You can learn more about and connect with Alice Heiman in the links below.


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