Sam Adams founder Jim Koch started cold calling without a CRM, let alone a finely-tuned Salesforce org. On NPR’s “How I Built This” podcast, he shares this entertaining sales approach, its successes, and its pitfalls. Listen to his story and then I’ll explain how I’d help him as a beer-savvy Salesforce consultant:

How Sam Adams Cold Called Without CRM

Sam Adams Cold Called Without CRMTo summarize the podcast story, Jim Koch brewed his first batch of Sam Adams and hit the streets of Boston to start selling it. He stuffed 7 cold bottles of beer in his briefcase with a stack of cups, and literally cold called every bar he walked up to. His first pitch was going great; the guy was nodding at everything he said. Only then did the real bar manager emerge from the back to tell him he was eagerly chatting up the barback, who didn’t speak a word of English!

Jim makes the sale with the world’s most persuasive demo – “have a drink of my cold beer!” Only afterwards he realize he also missed a key detail – how many cases the customer wanted to order. How could Salesforce have helped Jim Koch sell more Sam Adams with cold calls?

Know Your Leads

Jim’s leads already get tons of cold calls, so he needs to stand out by knowing both his beer and his leads. With Salesforce, he can build a targeted list from external data sources, research them, and tailor his pitch. And most importantly, he’ll know the right names and faces, so he can spend less time amusing barbacks and more time pouring samples for his real buyers.

Capture Your Orders

Sam Adams Cold Called Without CRM - Jim Koch First CasesGetting a verbal “yes” on his first sales call was great, but Jim still needs to follow through on the details. Number of cases, delivery dates, payment schedules, and contracts will all keep his business running smoothly and investors happy. Using Salesforce1 on his mobile device, he can complete all the required data for that order opportunity, and even have the customer e-sign the contract on the spot.

Build Your Relationships

Sam Adams Cold Called Without CRM - Jim Koch WhitehouseAt the start of the show, Jim naturally mentions having come straight from a bar that was one of his first accounts. The current manager is now the son of manager who first took a bet on Sam Adams. Now that Jim has 1400 employees, all of them should be able to research the history of this valuable customer. By building a history of key account and contact relationships in Salesforce, Jim’s team can smoothly handoff customers as salespeople build their own career paths to the CEO’s office.

Keep Your Beer Cold and Your Calls Warm

Walking into a bar with nothing but a suitcase of cold beer and a sales pitch is the stuff startup dreams are made of. Through luck and perseverance, Jim Koch build Sam Adams from a company of 2 to 1400. If I were Jim’s Salesforce consultant, I’d help boost those sales by warming up his leads for that cold beer demo. He’d be able to build and research his lead lists, capture complete orders and contracts on the road, and build key relationships as both he and his customers grow.

Want to increase the success of your own cold calling? I’ll work with you personally as your Salesforce consultant to understand your process and improve it. Learn more at

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