Startup Sales Meetupby Sebastien Mirolo on Thu, 31 Mar 2011
Yesterday I attended the Startup Sales Circle Inaugural Meetup provided by SalesTie. It was a great venue, with a lot of interesting people to meet and a very informative panel discussion moderated by Adam Rodnitzky at RelTel Technologies. That was definitely one of the most professional meetup I went to.
The panel consisted of Tony Mak, Sr. Associate at OATV, Michael Linton, VP Sales at ReFrameIt.com and George Aspland, CEO at RelTel Technologies. Coming from a software background it was really great to see them talk about focus and strategy, two words not often associated with sales people in engineering circles.
First and critical: the sales cycle. You need to know how long it takes on average to go from a potential lead to a final check. Cash flow is and remains one of the most important aspects of running a business.
The basics, competitive set, the problem solved and the technological edge have to be crystal clear every day, every meeting, every conversation. Collecting data and learning about the audience is also key to build a coherent strategy. There is always a diminishing return on CPM (cost per mille, cost per thousand views) so be sure to ask what worth is a new user to you.
For a practical standpoint, startups can be very reactive and adaptive in the sales cycle but they have to emphasis reliability at every step. It is a confidence game.
If you are about to build your brand or pitch an investor, a strategy that work well is to emphasis image and story. If you are lucky to have a charismatic person around, make him become the face of the company, going in every sales meeting, doing every interview. When you present, always tell the story from the point of view of the customer: "Imagine you are thirty years old with an expensive car and come to our web site..."