Amy Beaver is the Director of Sales for San Francisco-based PressFriendly. Currently working remotely in Atlanta, she spends her days furthering her passion and knowledge of the entrepreneurial world, while helping startups to share their story. With a background in coding and advertising, she brings a unique perspective to her new PR position. Check out her profile below and see what she loves most about the startup community: the challenge, the freedom, and the people.
What’s your current role?
I am the Director of Sales for PressFriendly. We are a remote team with the founders located in San Francisco. I have joined to take sales off the Founder & CEO’s plate and focus on generating new business and establishing repeatable and scalable sales processes. I currently have a hot desk at Atlanta Tech Village and love being amongst other passionate startup folks.
How does PressFriendly cater to startups?
When startups look to create a PR strategy, the options available are handling it on your own (time consuming) or hiring an agency (pricey for a startup). We have built a software platform that helps founders and marketing teams generate a pitch, automatically create relevant press lists utilizing machine learning, and email reporters through a lightweight email client and CRM. Where we provide even more value is from our full-time PR professionals who consult with our clients on strategy and execution. We essentially act as the PR arm of your business with multiple packages available based upon needs and budget.
For B2C companies, we launched our annual Holiday Gift Guide which gives access to the software and a list of over 225 reporters. Note: Pitches need to occur in July to be featured.
Just today we released our Crisis Communication Playbook (a bit light-hearted) to help startups deal with crisis like offending moderator communities and making poor jokes about dongles.
Our blog will be filled with PR tips along with upcoming educational webinars – so stay tuned!
What other startup/tech projects have you worked on?
I’ve been fascinated with entrepreneurship and startups since reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Crush It” and “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and actively began reaching out to startups like Fitocracy and Airbnb before they were big.
After years of sales experience I participated in Tech Talent South‘s coding immersion program in late 2013 so I could build a MVP and better understand the development process. That experience has been beneficial in enabling me to speak the language, understand how to architect a web app, and establish timelines and set client expectations in software startups that are constantly making updates to their product.
I met the founders of Gather here in Atlanta (all UNC grads – Go Heels!) as the TTS program was wrapping up and joined their team as the first hire last year. Those guys are sharp and I have always been impressed by how they have built the company, the product, and team. I came in once they found the product/market fit and Alex had been focusing on sales. The goal was to follow the Predictable Revenue model in building out a BDR/SDR and AE sales process. I built a prospecting and meeting-setting process for Alex to close. We were an effective team, growing over 300% while I was there – before leaving to pursue personal endeavors.
In May 2014, I participated in Atlanta Startup Weekend and pitched the idea for a marketplace where you hire chefs to cook in your home. I am thankful to have formed an amazing team that made the idea come to life (My Chef’s Table). We placed 2nd and were invited to Atlanta Startup Village to present our MVP. Shoutout to Raj Parikh who was on our team and has gone on to start his own company, Fete, here in Atlanta!
My goal in everything I do is to provide immense value, challenge myself, and grow.
What tech/tools are essential to you?
It’s amazing that all I need is my MacBook Air, iPhone, and headphones, and I can work from anywhere.
On a remote team, we make great use of Slack and all of the Google Apps. Team meetings are on Google Hangouts.
From a sales perspective, right now I am loving the combination of Gmail, Close.io (CRM), SalesLoft Cadence (Outbound Emails), Calendly (Automating scheduling of meetings), Join.me/Skype (calls/screensharing), and Intercom.io (User registration and support).
And, unrelated, I just got a Fitbit and am racing my brother and father. If anyone wants to challenge me, come on!
How do you stay informed & on top of emerging trends?
Being pretty new to the PR industry (I have an Advertising background), I read the industry publications. However, I believe the best way to learn is by surrounding yourself with those who are a bit smarter than you, so I have been picking the brains of the PR professionals on my team.
For sales, I follow Salesloft’s blog, Jason Lemkin at Saastr, and others on Twitter. Again, I also love reaching out to people who know a lot more than me. I recently grabbed lunch with Derek Grant who was helpful with bouncing ideas around as I build out the processes at PressFriendly. I can’t express the importance of taking initiative and reaching out to other people in your industry that you can learn from. Most people, from my experience, are willing to grab a coffee to share a bit of their knowledge.
Finally, we work with startups all around the world at PressFriendly, so every day I am being exposed to new ideas and technologies.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
I have endless ideas, and my mind never stops (anyone who is entrepreneurial can relate). I love brainstorming and thinking about the big picture. However, in my roles focusing on sales process, I have strengthened my ability to break the big idea down into smaller pieces and execute.
With my past experience coding, I bring a unique skill-set to a software sales organization because I understand how the product is built, what it would take to add/change features, and can communicate with clients and our internal development team fluidly. I also feel I build rapport with development teams because they know I understand how they operate.
What’s next on your list to learn?
I think the better question would be, what’s not? I am a lifelong learner and always have endless things I want to learn and try. I plan to continue honing my sales skills and challenging myself professionally by contributing across all areas of our business. I am very interested in the intersection of marketing and sales and how to drive inbound traffic, in addition to my outbound efforts and will support our founder in his efforts.
Personally, I have a guitar I bought a couple years ago that I really need to learn. I am a big health & wellness geek and want to continue to improve my knowledge in nutrition and exercise and get certified by NASM. I’d like to improve my swimming and possibly compete in a triathlon or some other fitness competition.
Why the interest in startups and the technology field?
1. The challenge – Some people enjoy knowing their role and responsibilities day-in and out will be the exact same. I don’t like that feeling. I thrive when stepping into a role where there is a lot of work to be done, problems and challenges to solve, and contributions are made across many areas of the business.
As an example – Today I worked on outbound sales process, held demo calls, reviewed an initial content marketing strategy, and worked with a founder on UI/UX improvements for the next version of our app.
2. The freedom – Alongside the challenge is freedom. Freedom to help on multiple projects as well as my current freedom to work anywhere in the world. This is my first experience working with a remote team, and it works well for me. I enjoy my colleagues and feel I am connected to them. But, I also have the flexibility to work when and where I want. And with that comes immense responsibility – which I welcome and take seriously.
3. The People – I think we all may be a little crazy to welcome the uncertainty of a startup environment! But, I am drawn to people with the passion, creativity, and commitment required to work in a startup.