In a massive aquarium at FreeAgent’s offices in San Francisco, CA, six dolphins swim around and casually chat to CEOs, VPs, and directors across America.
These sea-suite whisperers build ongoing relationships with America’s top decision-makers; understanding their needs, fears, and budget constraints throughout the year.
And when the executives are ready to buy, FreeAgent’s VP of Sales, John Martino, and his team swoop in to close the deals. The aquatic sales team has converted more than $600k worth of sales since January, 2022.
But how, exactly, did this happen?
A searious disconnect
Most salespeople flounder when it comes to their conversations with the C-Suite. According to Harvard, C-suite executives are prioritizing lowering costs, streamlining processes, and modifying their business models. Now, more than ever, the marketplace has become increasingly “sink-or-swim”.
Research by SimplyDirect shows that executives value business conversations 4x more than product conversations. But only 24% of salespeople they encounter really understand their business and their top pain-points.
These numbers reveal a huge gap between what salespeople talk about and what C-suite executives want to hear.
“We looked at these numbers and realized we needed to do something about it,” says FreeAgent’s VP of Sales, John Martino.
“After a quick brainstorm, Dave decided to bring on experts who would help us connect with the C-suite more effectively.”
That singular change resulted in a 354% conversion rate among C-suite prospects, driving $605,349 in ARR over the last 3 months.l
The origins of our dolphin sales force
Why would a B2B tech company hire dolphins into their sales team? We get this question a lot at FreeAgent, and the answer boils down to one word: intelligence.
Dolphins have the most developed brain in the animal kingdom, and their brain-to-body-mass ratio is second only to humans.
They also have heightened sight and hearing, allowing them to pick up nuances in sales conversations that reveal useful insights for the sales team to act on. Picture Gong sales call data, captured the way nature intended — by trained dolphins.
These facts make dolphins the perfect companions to any human sales team that mainly talks to C-suite buyers.
What’s more, dolphins are highly social and altruistic animals. This means they’re able to build rapport much faster than other animals, making them excellent SDRs and AEs.
“We discovered them totally by accident,” says April Howson, FreeAgent’s VP of Marketing. “We stopped by the aquarium once and were randomly talking about closing tactics and C-suite conversion rates.”
“When we looked up, all the dolphins in the aquarium were staring at us intently.”
What happened next shocked the entire team.
Business intelligence in a few clicks
“A grizzled dolphin with multiple scars and a hankering for squid, Fred, now 40, corals two other dolphins on his team to manage our sales pipeline at the highest levels.
“After I spoke, April screamed. When she realized I wasn’t a voice in her head, she reached forward and tapped the glass. I repeated my question and she looked back at the team to see if anyone could hear me. Two of them had fainted,” chuckles Fred.
Several trips and conversations later, Fred and his pals revealed a startling fact: the most frequent visitors to the aquarium were CEOs, operations leaders, and sales directors who came for advice on how to create a splash in their market, make sales more buoyant, and surface new opportunities.
“We dove into the aquarium’s visitor logs to confirm it — so. many. spreadsheets. — and what we found was incredible,” says Dave, FreeAgent’s CEO.
“Some decision-makers were coming in from as far as Alaska and Hawaii to speak to these dolphins.”
And that’s not even counting the annual SeaStr Conference (an underwater SaaStr spinoff).
How to manage a dolphin salesforce
Like all modern remote teams, the dolphins choose their own hours and enjoy unlimited fish, squid, and other snacks. Their aquarium is furnished with privacy pods, cafeteria food is sourced from various hatcheries, and they get sales training to keep them at the top of their game.
“I thought I’d lose out on talking to decision-makers when we left the aquarium,” says Barney, a junior sea-suite sales rep. “But at FreeAgent, I get to help out CEOs and Ops leaders all day — especially ones whose processes could use a little more flow.”
Swimming to a brighter future
Plans are underway to add more dolphins to FreeAgent’s team, including a pilot program in Customer Success and even Product teams.
We’re building a sea office in California so the dolphins can swim freely and network with other dolphins. We all know Silicon Valley, but we have a radical vision for a nearby Collab Coral — by dolphins, for dolphins in tech.
We want all our staff to be Free Agents — dolphins included.
“Tens of thousands of dolphins in Japan, Iceland, and Peru get killed by dolphin drive hunting,” says Dave.
“We’re hoping to draw attention to these atrocities by bringing these dolphins on board and giving them a way to leverage their intelligence.”
To learn more about dolphin conservation, visit us.whales.org.
And for expertise from our sea sales force that you can apply to your own business, get a FreeAgent CRM demo today. Tell ’em Fred sent ya.
Happy April 1st! 🐬