Startup Strategies: Aim Your Sales Efforts

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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…

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The Future of Local Commerce = Facebook + Foursquare + Yelp + Groupon [+ Outdoor]

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Buy local? It’s more than just a tagline but if you want more than your fair share of drive by business, you have to consider what these tools can do for you…

“There’s been much hype, crazy valuations, and overall market excitement about businesses that promise to unleash the power of the social graph, location, recommendations and group buying. Facebook’s latest valuation according to SecondMarket is now about $30 billion, Foursquare raised $20 million at a post-money valuation of $115 million while still at a pre-revenue stage, Yelp, short of selling for $550 million to Google, raised over $25 million at an undisclosed but very high valuation, and finally Groupon raised $135 million at a whopping $1.35 billion valuation. So besides their huge success with the investment community, and their users, what do these companies have in common, and what does all this have to do with disrupting Local Commerce?” Source: The Future of Local Commerce = Facebook + Foursquare + Yelp + Groupon

imho, you if you want maximum impact, you also have to consider what these tools will do for you when combined with old media like outdoor advertising as well, but not everyone has the ability to help you integrate outdoor like e1evation does

What do each of these tools do? Here’s your primer and why you should care…

“Let’s focus on the main function each of these different startups provide to understand how bringing them together will ultimately disrupt multiple trillion dollar industries:

  • Facebook: provides the Social Graph, which is fast becoming a utility. Through its open platform, and APIs, we share more about our lives and our interactions online and on mobile every day.
  • Foursquare and Gowalla: provide location services and check-ins, along with game mechanics that motivate users to unlock badges, earn mayorships, and get discounts at local stores in the process.
  • Yelp: provides crowdsourced reviews of local businesses. Now also provides check-ins, and offers.
  • Groupon: provides discounted offers against a promise to increase sales and bring in brand new customers to local businesses.

The interesting thing here is that there’s a lot of overlap between the features offered by these companies. Recently, Facebook launched Places, a mobile geo-location service that mimics Foursquare local check-ins. Yelp also added check-ins, and recently rolled out Yelp Deals, a Groupon clone.” Source: The Future of Local Commerce = Facebook + Foursquare + Yelp + Groupon

My advice? Find someone who can help you get launched and get moving, but I’m in that business so what would you expect me to say? Really! Comment, call or use the contact form to connect so we can talk about how this applies to your business…

Facebook pays!

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