How This (Former) SMB Rep Closed a Deal so Big, They Wrote a Press Release

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Last month, Rick Sabóia landed a deal so large, his customer and company issued a press release. It’s the kind of deal enterprise sellers can spend a career working for.

And get this:

He was an “SMB rep” at the time.

Here’s how it all happened. And **exactly how you can do the same.

How it All Started: From Brazil to the US

7 years ago, Rick sold everything, moved to the US, and started his career in sales:

Here’s what Rick said during our last conversation.

My dad was a pharmaceutical rep, so I figured I’d go into medicine. But I hated biology and chemistry. Then, when I had the chance to come to the US, I stumbled across an opportunity to sell PCI compliance in Portuguese.

After I got started, I remember dreaming that I was talking to people in English, and they could actually understand me. I’d wake up from those dreams feeling super excited.

I fell in love with sales pretty quickly after this, and remember this feeling that becoming an enterprise seller was my goal, but it felt so unattainable.

Over the next few few years, Rick worked his way through different Utah-based sales teams, ultimately landing an AE role selling employee recognition software.

How Things Progressed: From SMB → National Rollout

When Rick got started in his new role, he went DEEP on the process of becoming a thoughtful, strategic seller.

First, he read everything he could find in this blog,, and Selling With.

Then, he signed up for Fluint in summer 2023.

Which helped him shift the way he thought about selling. The process of:

  1. Creating committed champions in every deal.
  2. Enabling them to sell internally with a compelling narrative.
  3. Designing his process around influencing buying conversations.

After another 6 months, here’s the DM I got from Rick inside the Fluint Slack Community:

Rick’s deal started with a single location, but he expanded the scope to all 800 locations.

I was stoked to see the news, and of course, I was curious about the story behind the deal:

Here’s what Rick shared in our conversation after these messages.

Rick’s Top 3 Takeaways for Building Deal Momentum

“I think there were three main ideas that really made the biggest difference. They were all about helping me build up momentum, so things didn’t stall out.”

1/ Developing a Highly “Believable” Message

By default, buyers are skeptical. So Rick focused on finding the right messenger, and “renting” his champion’s track record & internal influence:

“I had never been a buyer before, so I didn’t always see the dynamics at play in large deals. Previously, I thought anyone willing to talk to me qualified as a champion.”

This time around, he realized a champion’s influence comes in varying degrees.

It’s a spectrum, that will rise and fall based on someone’s “believability.”

Which acts like a discount rate when your message is attached to them, vs. another contact.

For example, let’s say:

  • Contact #1 was personally recruited by an executive after working with them in the past.
  • Contact #2 led a past train wreck of a project, so the exec never staffs them on projects.

Who do you want championing your deal?

2/ Climbing Above the Priority Filter

We live in an Attention Economy.

Which means budget flows where your buyers’ attention goes. It also means your competition is all the noise and competing priorities inside the organization.

It’s hard (like, really hard) to get a deal to rise up the level of an executive.

Let alone a board of directors. Which is exactly what Rick realized:

“People put so much emphasis on ‘pain points,’ and I thought identifying and even measuring pain was sufficient. But I learned that framing the pain in a more strategic way, to align with a major initiative within the business, is really the key.

We had to revise our narrative so many times I lost count. Until eventually, it resonated and caught the board's attention.”

3/ Leveraging the Business Case to Multithread

A deal this large means lots of meetings. With lots of contacts, and lots of approvals.

Here’s Rick’s point:

“The Credit Union space is very network-centric, so it was key to get validation from other executives and business units if we were going to move this deal forward.”

He not only had to multithread at a whole new level, he had to:

How It’s Going Today: From AE → Head of Sales

Rick’s level of experience jumped forward by a few years, in just a few months.

So when I shared out the press release inside Slack, people noticed:

Shortly after this, Rick became the new Head of Sales at ScreenSteps.

He started in January, but the story doesn’t end there. Rick didn’t just become a strategic seller, and a Head of Sales.

The best news of all?

He’s now the proud dad to a new son (his second son):

I love this last point from Rick:

Sales keeps me at my best. Not just at work, but at home too. It’s a field where I’m always working to grow, improve, and learn, and I hope it’s something my sons see.

There’s zero doubt in my mind Rick’s sons are already looking up to their dad’s journey.

From Brazil, to the US.

From SMB, to Enterprise.

From AE, to Head of Sales.

I can’t wait to see what’s next for Rick and his family.


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