In this series of seven articles, I am going to break some pre-conceived notions that might be stopping you to excel at sales, hence responsible for slowing down your startup’s growth.
I will replace them with 7 mindsets that will make sales come naturally to you.
Jim Rohn once said you shouldn’t wish that things were easier; you should wish that you were better.
Mindset 2: Always be learning.
It’s very important for you as a founder to understand and differentiate between the two learning curves you have to deal with at the same time:
Your personal learning curve.
Your startup’s learning curve.
Your personal learning curve is about ‘you’ learning to be a better founder, better leader and above all a better sales person.
Your startup’s learning curve is focused on learning about your target customers, their problems, different ways to solve these specific problems, and above all how to better sell this specific product/service.
The goal is to build a systematic and predictable sales system that you can later scale to have a successful startup. Once you have the first version of this system, you can further improve it by optimizing, automating and thus ultimately reducing the cost of acquiring each customer.
In this phase, learnings are more important than results.
If you make ten sales right away but you have no idea why, then you can’t repeat them.
On the other hand, if you get just two sales but you know how to replicate them, then you’re golden – you can ramp things up.
In other words, you have to follow the sales learning curve, a concept described in detail in this Harvard Business Review article.
The authors, who have 25 years of experience with startups and new product launches, explain that increasing your sales force too quickly is a bad idea (although it may be very tempting!). Your top priority should be to learn how your customers will buy and use the product – a process called the sales learning curve.
This learning can only take place as customers start to acquire and use your product. Based on that new knowledge, you can modify your sales and marketing process to work better – and then expand your sales team.
If you hire too many sales people before you understand how to sell your product efficiently, you’ll drain your cash reserves and still fall short of revenue expectations.
So, don’t hire a VP Sales until you’re ready to scale, build and fund a small but growing sales team.
During the learning process, the velocity and cost of your experimentation are key. It’s all about getting to the truth of your ideas as quickly and cheaply as possible.
For this, you’ll need to experiment continuously.
Running experiments like Scrum can be very helpful. While Scrum is typically used in software development, it works pretty great in marketing as well. You can prioritize using three key variables – potential, importance and ease. With frameworks like Scrum, you can:
Identify mistakes early and nip them in the bud.
Get things done and receive valuable feedback.
Increase predictability while staying flexible.
Set tangible goals.
To get a better sense of how Scrum can be used in marketing efforts, have a look at this case study, which explains how the content and marketing teams at Kaarten Carrousel used and tweaked it for greater success.
Hi there, I am Maddy, I help B2B & SaaS founders get first 1000 customers and scale fast!
Sales is a science. Just like you engineer your product into existence, I can help you build a sales and marketing machine to help people see how your product change their lives for the better.