Sales development is part of any business. Sometimes, it is the hardest. It's even harder in the tech field when there's not enough IT-trained sales representatives. So Matt Wheeler is trying to meet the need.
Wheeler is CEO of Qualified Meetings, a new Tampa company dedicated to helping tech businesses grow their customer base.
“I just saw there was a massive need,” he says.
Wheeler founded Qualified Meetings with Eric Byrd and Whitney Marshall in 2016. He is projecting about $2 million in sales and 20 employees in about three months.
The company’s sales developer program essentially white-labels Qualified Meetings' employees so they appear to be part of their clients’ sales team. Eventually, they may be.
Qualified Meetings trains and mentors, then its employee may be hired away by the client for a higher salary, with Qualified Meeting collecting a 20 percent fee. The newly trained staff can work remotely from Tampa, helping to build the tech community here while helping to keep labor costs in check for the employer.
“We work with sales. We work with marketing. We become a seamless additional team to those companies,” Wheeler explains. “We become experts in every product that we manage.”
Trained employees also may eventually work in Qualified Meetings software sales.
Qualified Meetings works with Optimizer, a web-based software that automates the sales operation and avoids cold calling. Currently in beta testing, Optimizer is expected to launch in 90 days.
The company currently employs 17 full-time employees and six summer interns. Within the next 60 days, it plans to hire nine marketing and/or sales development staffers for annual salaries between $45,000 and $65,000 each, with benefits.
The staff will grow as the company adds accounts, so Wheeler projects a staff of 30 by year’s end.
Part of the Tampa Bay WaVE program, which helps entrepreneurs launch and grow tech businesses, Qualified Meetings operates out of Channel District office space.
Wheeler, who bought his domain name more than five years ago, was living in Annapolis, MD, and visited other cities like Austin and Atlanta before deciding to move his family to Tampa about two years ago.
“I’m practically a poster child for Tampa now,” he says. “We fell in love with it.”
He describes Tampa as “big, but small,” enabling people to earn a reputation when they “maintain integrity.”