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Featured on Sep 23, 2011

Cynthia Schames

" Great ideas are just ideas until a revenue stream proves their worth."


I've sold technology in some form or another since 1994. Yep, been around a long time. In addition to putting in my time at big companies like AltaVista and Netopia (now part of Motorola), I've worked in several VC-backed startups of varying degrees of ultimate success. Previously I was the founder of a bootstrapped and highly profitable ecommerce startup specializing in authentications and resale of ultra-luxury handbags. When my twins were born in 2008, I closed down the business, with the grand plan of being a full time stay at home Mom. I lasted about 6 months doing that.

  • Title: Director, Sales & Business Development at ToutApp
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Westchester
  • Contact: @cynthiaschames

ToutApp’s New York office is based in SoHo.  Any recommendations for places to eat in the area?  How about places to hold meetings outside of the office?  

Great question--I love to eat!  Some of my favorite places, in no particular order...Despana for sandwiches made from the finest imported Spanish hams and cheeses, La Esquina for great tacos and burritos.  I'm also a huge fan of all the varied Asian cuisines represented around here--I tend to walk south toward Chinatown for lunch more often than I walk north!   Pho Bang, for great Vietnamese noodle soups; Quan Sushi for decent, cheap and quick sushi; Bun Soho for quite good Pad Thai, and so on.

As far as places to meet outside the office, my meetings tend to take place at client or prospect's locations. so I'm not the best person to ask..but I'd imagine WeWork Lounge is pretty sweet.

What’s your perfect Sunday?  

My perfect Sunday would involve sleeping in, going for a hike in the woods with my dogs, then coming into the city for a nice long brunch, museum visit and maybe some shopping, then a nap.

My actual Sunday generally involves 6AM wakeup times, Cheerios and cartoons. 

What’s your number one piece of advice for first time tech entrepreneurs when it comes to sales and business development?  

This is a great question. My overall advice for tech entrepreneurs is:  once you've actually produced a minimum viable product, and proved the concept that people will buy it, go hire someone with experience to sell it.  Sales is its own thing; both an art and a science.  Use the right tool for the right job.
If you sell a B2C product, you're actually going to need a bus dev guy (or gal), and their skill set is probably going to skew toward creativity, influence-building, community and social media.  If you sell a B2B product--such as we do at ToutApp--your needs are actually very different.  Since you're going to sell to businesses, use cases, proof of concept, ROI, case studies, and all that semi-boring businessy stuff actually needs to get created, promoted and used.  The tools you'll need internally are different too, because B2B sales cycles are often a lot longer than "oh that looks cool, *click*".  You'll probably need a CRM solution, for example.

Last but not least, just remember: as the founder, you're responsible for making sure everything gets done, but that doesn't mean you're responsible for DOING everything.  Make an awesome product, line up awesome capital, hire an awesome team, and let it fly.

Business Development, Sales