Updated: Aug 12, 2020
Many technical founders I’ve met with are either getting ready to hire their first salesperson or they’re frustrated with what feels like a revolving door of underperforming salespeople. What gives?
Perhaps one of the most fundamental mistakes that technical Founders make is to focus on evangelizing the vision and building the product. Then, when the product approaches MVP-ready, the Founder hires a salesperson to bring in the customers.
DON’T MAKE THIS MISTAKE.
Sadly, this usually ends in frustration, lost time, poor employee morale and degraded investor confidence. It is one of the most common downfalls of many promising new businesses.
Just as any new product goes through a beta phase followed by a production phase, I strongly encourage a phased sales process.
Phase 1: Partnership
During the partnership phase, an individual (usually the Founder, CTO, CEO or perhaps even a Business Development person) is responsible for ongoing engagement with prospective customers from the concept validation phase onwards. This person is responsible for learning what’s important to the customer and how they would buy/use a new solution such as yours. You’re also freely sharing your company’s expertise with your partner to help them solve an important problem. Most importantly, this individual is responsible for closing initial customers and learning how they buy.
Phase 2: Sales
Armed with several happy, reference customers and a basic understanding of the buying process, you’re ready to hire a professional salesperson who is responsible for accelerating customer acquisition, learning more about how they buy and building a repeatable sales process.
Only when that process is understood and you have good product/market fit, should you grow your sales team to scale.
Of course, there’s a lot to unpack in these two phases, and we’ll do that in a series of upcoming blogs.
Whether you’re in the Partnership phase, getting ready to hire your first salesperson or you’re frustrated with disappointing sales traction,contact us and we can help get you back on track.