We regularly hear the saying that the number one success factor for a business is the choice of its team. I include members of the core team as well as investors and advisors who can play a key role. But if we were to focus on a very specific competence, which one should we prefer? The answer is: « Deliver sales »!
Sales skills wanted!
First of all, you have to know how to sell. Sell your project to employees who prefer to join your team with an uncertain outcome rather than a more stable business. Sell your project to investors who will bring you their capital. And most importantly, sell your products to customers. It could be equate with the human body where the sale represents the function of feeding which brings food to the mouth. A start-up can live under a cash infusion as a body can live on an infusion without eating but it has to remain temporary.
Founders lead by example
Often, a group of friends identifies a problem, develops a product and then attempts to initiate the sales process. The sales cycle must be built almost at the same time as the development of a product. For example, the best examples are those following tricks of bootstrapping who even sell their products before having them developed. This scenario is obviously rare but it is clear the advantage that means for a start-up. Positive cash allows you to pay for your resources as you go, while avoiding the possibility of raising funds. At this point, bootstrapping becomes an art!
When a team has a good technical profile, there is always a balance to be found between « techies » and « salesmen ». It is often said that engineers or technical profiles do not have the ability to sell and face the necessity to recruit business developers. In the initial phase, I am a strong believer that first sellers must be the founding team. Amongst them, the CEO obviously has a key role to play in this and will lead by example. Who is more passionate than him about his idea? Who will convey the passion he has for his idea and the advantages of his solution? Sales techniques are learned and improved but it is not because a person has a technical profile as oppose to the « carpet saller » that he will not be able to become a good seller. On the contrary!!! Keep in mind that one of the main qualities of a seller is not to talk, but to listen.
However, meeting with clients is not always sufficient to achieve the intended objectives and it is found that external help is needed to relieve the core team. Hiring a salesperson is always an option but, as we have seen, in the initial phase, few start-ups have the funds to hire the services of an experienced salesperson whose claims will be high. On the contrary, a junior salesperson will have a lower salary but will have to spend several weeks to be trained and especially several months to build a network of clients. In both options, you will have to ask yourself several questions before finalizing a contract:
Does he / she know the industry?
Is he / she known in this industry?
What is his experience?
An intermediate solution has to go through business development agencies like B-SCALED, which provide senior profiles who will have a large address book and several years of experience in a given sector. For instance, to adapt to the constraints of their clients, these agencies offer services that can range from the simple intermediation to the closing of a sale.
This flexibility is also reflected in the method of remuneration since a compromise between fixed and variable salaries is often sought for the benefit of the variable portion.
In this widespread trend of transforming fixed costs into variable costs, B-SCALED offers the on-demand business development solution with many advantages:
Direct access to target clients and decision-makers,
Reduced training time,
Flexibility in the duration of missions,
Reduced sales cycle.
As a result, in an economy where speed has become one of the key parameters of success, it is more crucial than ever to know how to surround yourself with the right profiles in order to go as far as possible. Feel free to leave us a message if you want to learn more about B-SCALED services.