October 31, 2010 Leave a comment
At my first company, we had four or five sales reps who’d been around since the early days. They intuitively knew how to position the company and how to sell the products; they didn’t need (and we didn’t have) sales materials, pricing strategies, or elaborate service-level agreements (SLAs).
We then increased the sales staff to about 10, and even hired an SVP of global sales and marketing. Because he was a big-company sales exec, he was very critical of some of the missing tools at my company. He pushed for more standardization of pricing, marketing collaterals, sales processes, etc.
He told me, “There’s no standardized way for me to onboard new people. There’s no way for us to easily roll out changes to pricing, positioning relative to competitors or new sales tools. We need standardized tools to arm our sales teams with the information they need to effectively do their jobs, and we need to better aim them at the right opportunities.”
I was stuck in startup culture, and he was stuck in big-company culture. There was a chasm between us that couldn’t be bridged. But he was right about one thing: We needed to change as we grew. I think this happens at a lot of startups. Like my company did, startups get stuck in this middle ground where process and tools become more important.
This is the first in a three-part series in which I’m going to talk about some of the scaling issues startups face. In this first post, we’ll talk about aiming your sales staff at the opportunities most likely to pay off…
Author Mark Suster is on to something here. You can follow the ‘via’ link above to go to the source and read the rest of the article if you like — I’ll try to be sure to capture the rest of the series…
- Startup Sales – Why Hiring Seasoned Reps May Not Work (bothsidesofthetable.com)
- How Do I Develop a Sales Strategy? (thinkup.waldenu.edu)