First question you should be asking in a startup environment; When are you ready for a business development vs just sales? To answer that you need to answer other questions; do you have a sales process?
Usually sales and business development will be done by the same person in the earlier stages.
Are your partners respected and well thought of in their domain? If yes, you need to look at how to influence them in your methodology to enable them to sell your product.
When working with a new partner/re-seller it’s important to bring them your experience of your particular sales process in order to work with them on combining it with their own.
Your biggest partner is going to be the first few customers. As these are the people that will help you find the process and product market fit. They will also be your biggest cheerleaders by saying that they trusted you and that they are glad they did.
Create a mind altering experience for your customer and everything else will follow. This should be first priority over business models or product models, they will fall into place after you make a great experience for them.
Startups have a great advantage over larger companies as you have a vision. Startups are able to move quicker and make changes faster. So if you can share your journey with them that fundamentally changes problem that is in the market, they will be excited for that vision and want to be part of it.
When prospecting, add value to the message. Not just send marketing material and follow up with “did you receive my email?”. Assume everyone is twice as busy as you think they are.
When prospecting, use social media to provide value. Follow the prospect and see what material they like and share. Engage with them by liking and commenting as well then share with them similar articles. This will be a lot more effective in building the relationship than sending out spam emails.
When outbound prospecting, trust the process. Make those calls, emails and touchpoints. It can take a long time before you start seeing results.
Before starting to scale, make sure that the full process is complete. If you sign a new customer but fail to onboard them or the product does not meet their expectations, first fix that.
Step 1) Get your first clients to be raving fans. Step 2) Figure out the process needed to obtain more raving fans. Step 3) Grow and scale the business
It is important to choose your first few clients. If one persona needs certain technical aspects and another persona needs another set, it’s hard to focus and give priority. Also, when selling, you want to be able to name drop from the same industry.
A good salesperson will help facilitate the conversation and provide value to the prospect. The information can be found from the prospect online without you.
Look for someone that is more well rounded person, not just someone who has been a sales person their entire career.
What is your favorite sales or leadership book? The Challenger Sale
Do you have someone that you follow/read for sales/leadership ideas? Sudheesh Nair
Are you available 24/7? Do you have strict personal time boundaries? Does not believe in compartmentalizing work and personal life. But he does have family boundaries.
What is your favorite tool used for sales? Salesforce
What one piece of advice do you have for all the founders/CEOs/VP Sales out there? Don’t outsource sales, do it yourself.