WHY YOUR STARTUP NEEDS A SALES PROCESS

by Kevin Baumgart
September 17, 2014

Many entrepreneurs don’t have a strong sales background and the current endeavor is often times their initial venture into a sales environment.

I highly recommend that startup organizations develop a structured sales process as early as possible.  Building out this defined methodology has a number of benefits:

  • Consistency – Each person in the organization follows the same approach.
  • Deal Strategy – Reviewing why you won or lost opportunities is critical.  With a process in place you can dissect what happened and why.
  • Limited Resources – Make the process as effective as possible and spend the majority of your time on moving qualified opportunities forward.
  • Training/On-boarding – If it’s documented, you can coach to it.  It’ll speed up the ramp time and improve effectiveness early on.

The sales process doesn’t need to be extremely complex – It just needs to followed and communicated well.

Here is the sales process we follow at Hireology:

Stage 1 – Lead Generation and Demo Scheduling
Stage 2 – Discovery
Stage 3 – Demo/Present
Stage 4 – Negotiation and Follow-Up
Stage 5 – Close and Implementation
Stage 6 – Strengthen and Grow Relationship

I include the following sections/information in each phase:

  • Stage Best Practices
  • Stage Pitfalls
  • Critical Tasks and Activities to Complete
  • Expected Outcome or Goal of the Stage

Here are some best practices to follow when building out a sales process for your startup:

  • Limit the process to no more than 6 stages
  • Clearly define each stage and who in the organization owns each stage
  • Review and analyze the process after you close or lose an opportunity
  • Don’t hesitate to make enhancements as you go – this isn’t a one shot deal
  • Communicate it to everyone that touches the sales organization
  • Make it fun/light – It’s super cheesy but we call our sales process the “treasure map” – if our team follows this process it will lead them to the commissionable treasure!

I learned everything I know on sales process from the folks at Impact Performance Group – check em out here

Also, Mark Suster from Upfront Ventures wrote a great series of posts on why your startup needs a sales methodology – first post is here

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