There are going to be different conversations occurring between C-level when figuring out how to structure and align sales teams. I am going to focus on 3 different but very common sales organisations, a number of which I have seen all work very effectively, not just at the startup level but up to Enterprise too.

Account Based 

This is where you split your team into those serving SMB, Mid-Market and Enterprise customers

Pros: there is a clear definition of who looks after what and you are not limited by industry. You are able to cross-pollinate between industries and are not hindered by one salesperson looking after Financial Services, the other looking after Utilities for example.

Cons: it can get hard to manage resources and it requires a lot of communication and collaboration between all team members which is tough to manage.

Product Based 

This is where you split your team into focussing on particular products for your business and they sell those products into business regardless of size or industry

Pros: the expertise in each product is adopted very quickly and deeply because the salespeople understand the product inside and out.

Cons: with this, there is the danger of salespeople focusing on features and benefits as opposed to the best solution for the customer so it has to be managed very carefully.

Territory/Geography Based 

This is where you split your respective country into different territories or regions and assign a rep to each territory.

Pros: the reps gain a very good rapport with their territory because they spend a lot of time there and understand the nuances of the region as well as being very accustomed at how to get around/accents etc

Cons: the danger is that this structure can encourage working in silos which is something you don’t want. There is also the very highly likely incident where some areas are more profitable than others (if you are in the UK, consider comparing the South East and the North East for example) which makes it harder to manage.

Like everything, the sales organisation that you choose has to represent what your overarching sales strategy is and how you want to take your product or service to market. Also, just because you have tried one organisational structure, doesn’t mean you can’t try another – after all, startups are agile and nimble!

Emotions have been running high for the whole of 2020, with people forced into transitioning to new ways of working, some kicking and screaming, but most, welcoming some change, reducing their commute time and adopting this new “normal”.

Whilst these reactions are personally emotive, what is slightly more sinister is my observation of businesses allowing themselves to let emotions dictate their own business acumen and strategy creation.

It is fair to say that a number of businesses are needing to (or have already) alter[ed] their revenue and Go To Market (GTM) strategies, the latter of which can be defined as from first contact to value delivery.

It is a complicated task especially if reactionary which a number of alterations will be (clearly, no one prepared for an event like this!) but it is important to focus on the following 3 things when developing a new GTM strategy:

  • Focus on delivering activities that are vital to the business
  • Finding ways to conduct these activities digitally
  • Whether the company has existing solutions that help transition to digital

So, yes a transition to digital is a must and most businesses recognise this or were in the process of doing so accepting that if they focus on these 3 things when it comes to developing a GTM, then they are on the right path.

However, and this is the point of this article, every strategic decision has to be data-driven and not emotive. For the decisions that are to be made, the genesis of this decision-making has to start, or be linked back, to a set of data points to ensure the decision makes sense. Emotion and intellect are negatively correlated. You can have the best intentions that your strategy needs to focus on your content, your customer, your community and the value your product brings (it should by the way!) but if the strategic decisions are built upon gut feel and intuition, whilst commendable, will result in your new foundations being built on sand, and not stone.

Masonry, and not silica, is what these new strategies need so make sure that you look at the data and make decisions based on what the data is telling you and not let your disruptive emotions take over.

 

Sales technology grows at a rate of knots. There are some serious standalone applications and services that can transform your business and can automate your whole operation. I have broken down what I feel are some useful tech’s to consider into 4 major categories: Prospecting, Opportunity Management, Proposals and Customer Success – or the whole customer journey if you will.

Prospecting

Perhaps the salespersons least favourite part of the job but right now, even more necessary. Let us assume that you have nailed your ICP and you have some customers, then look at ocean.io as a way to unlock data from your CRM. It will use its algo to group similar companies together based on what that company says they do on their website. Next up, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is clearly a great resource. It really does help your efforts.

Opportunity Management

Video is a great way to engage prospects. Vidyard enables you to incorporate video into your prospecting efforts, be hyper personalised and humanise you in the eyes of your prospect. Next up is Hubspot Sales Hub which creates a great kanban interface for you to maintain deal velocity by understanding where deals are stalling and the ability to diagnose where problems and their solutions may lie to keep deals moving.

Proposals

Betterproposals.io is a great service that has recently undergone a facelift. An easy way to create nice looking proposals that integrate with Hubspot and keep everything up to date. Panda Doc is also a good option for those wanting to create great looking proposals that can be hyper personalised which is what we all want.

Customer Success 

Grid is an Icelandic company that helps you create beautiful (their words!) web documents from Excel spreadsheets; let’s face it, Excel spreadsheets are dull to look at but the info is interesting. This is a way of making it less dull to go through. Asana is a great project management tool which can be used in place of an Account Plan. If you have QBRs with your customer or End of Year reviews this is a great way of tracking your customers goals and helping them break them down into actionable steps at how they are going to achieve their goals.

Bonus Category – Integration

Some of these techs stack together to create your workflow. However, some don’t. This is where you are going to need a few tools to help. Zapier links everything together without the need of an API. Very cool and great for automation. Tray.io also does something similar but is a little more techy and for architects who really want to get under the hood, this is something to consider.

Your sales technology stack is going to be limited by how each piece of technology communicates with each other. If they are not open API based, try an integrator. A relatively inexpensive way to get you that coveted process of all mundane and manual processes automated with only a peppering of human interaction when required.

You may have heard of Sales Operations before. Perhaps uttered in the same breath as Sales Enablement which focuses on the tech and equipment salespeople need to help them sell better? Great companies like Seismic are crushing it in the sales enablement space, as are many others. But what about its slightly more mysterious cousin, Revenue Operations? Why is this important and how is it different?

Sales Ops considers CRM engagement and other sales tech stacks to make the salesperson’s job easier. But RevOps looks at the whole customer journey and looks at ways that efficiency and effectiveness can be achieved across Marketing, Sales and Customer Success. From the Awareness stage all the way through to the Renewal stage, RevOps purpose is to increase pipeline throughput and sales velocity by taking a data-drive approach.

RevOps is there to de-silo these 3 departments and in a world where businesses are always striving to be better and offer a great customer experience, RevOps can give you this intelligence into the real value of a customer from when they first visited your site, to what content they engaged with, to how many activities it took to close them, how happy they are, to what other products did they buy from you etc, etc. The clear advantage of this function is that it enables strategic decisions around Go-To-Market to be made with a data underpin which in today’s competitive landscape is an absolute must.

There are some similarities between Sales Ops and RevOps. What is right for your company is going to depend on the size, lifecycle and age of the company but let me put it this way. RevOps gives you full visibility across your entire business and it brings together Marketing, Sales and Customer Success in order to reduce friction, increase collaboration and ultimately, increase revenue. According to Hubspot, 78% of B2B tech companies struggle with the problem of consistent revenue growth. Get this RevOps in place, you could be one of the 22% that really make it!

The Sales technology domain has rocketed with new entrants in the last few years; so many different propositions all solving unique challenges, with healthy competition coming in amongst vendors. A trap that many of us, whether you are rep or leader, fall into is getting a demo or being wowed by a new vendor with their new features and so you want to shoe horn this into your stack because it’s cool! However, do you need it? Consider these 3 areas before you purchase anything new:

  1. What is it that you need this tech to do for you? Oftentimes, defining the problem you are trying to solve is the hardest bit. Finding the solution is relatively easy once the challenge has been identified and framed appropriately.
  2. Try and pick technology that works together. A lot of tech is open API anyway but technologies that have been designed to work together often can save you serious headaches in the long run. For example, if you use Salesforce and need a conversational intelligence platform, Salesloft would certainly be one to consider.
  3. Finally, don’t buy something that is promised, or is “on the roadmap” or “will be ready once we get you set up”. It won’t be and this is what we call being sold vapour-ware. Only buy the tech once it exists.

To give this a worked example, let us consider a category of sales technology products: conversational intelligence. My view is that this is one of the most important tools for sales leaders. How to create a contact, a company, a new deal and other CRM processes are important, but to be able to judge the effectiveness of your reps questions, how they respond, their objection handling skills and the questions the prospect is asking, moves you from what you think would be useful to coach the rep on, to having the insight on areas of development they need to be coached on based on data.

A CRM is often your most important tool for any sales organisation. There are lots of processes that more detailed articles can offer on how best to do this, but once this is in place, really consider conversational intelligence platforms like Salesloft, Gong or Refract. Your job as a leader is to increase the effectiveness of your reps/team. Use this sales technology to help you do this.

Pricing is one of the hardest things to get right in the B2B sales. There are three main types: Cost based, Competitor based and Value based. To take each one in turn.

  • Cost based is where you have figured how much it takes to make your product and have put 20-30% on top of this as margin and this is your cost. It works for a bit, but then you start to realise that you are selling it too cheap, so now where do you go?
  • Competitor based is where you have looked at what your competitors are doing and in an attempt to win business from them, you have undercut them by an amount just large enough for your customers to go with you based on price. Again, it works for a bit but then it becomes a race to the bottom and you will be in a place where you have to give the product away for free to get the business!
  • Finally, value based. This is where you want to try and get yourselves if you are to survive. It is the optimal strategy but the hardest to figure out because there are so many variables.

How do I arrive at a value based pricing model? Follow these 4 steps:

  1. Focus on a single segment – don’t focus on multiple segments, just the one
  2. Compare with the next best alternative – compare with the solutions a buyer could purchase instead of yours. If no alternatives exist in your market, value based pricing wont’ work very well
  3. Understand differentiated worth – figure out what feature is unique to the competitor’s
  4. Place a £ amount on this differentiator. This is the hardest step and so most marketers use conjoint analysis or qualitative customer interviews to help them.

Value-based pricing is an effective method to price products. It is a hard thing to do and once you have done it once, does not mean you won’t have to revisit. With a stronger grasp of how this method works, marketers will be able to make smarter pricing decisions, and employ value-based pricing to increase profits.

Want to learn more about pricing and sales strategy? Book a consultation with Sales for Startups today.

At Sales for Startups, we work with Founders and CEOs of B2B tech startups who often lack the sales experience, and bandwidth, to deliver predictable revenue.

Delivering that predictable revenue is based on the combined sales leadership experience of our team, much of which leans on a deep understanding of revenue operations. If you’d like to learn more about how we could help embed this at your startup, book a free consultation with us here.

Revenue Operations, or RevOps for short, is a term that has been maturing in the US, and is still in its infancy in the UK. It is growing though on this side of the Atlantic and this is down mainly to its inclusion in the revenue growth industries vernacular. It may be useful to break down exactly what it is just so you can start to understand whether your company needs it or not.

RevOps stitches together 3 different departments: Marketing, Sales and Customer Success. These 3 departments you would think are good at communicating given they are all customer-facing and are focussed on revenue. However, more often than not, this is not the case and it causes havoc in a business.

With RevOps, this function aligns these 3 departments and focuses on the underlying data with which to make decisions, as opposed to using gut feel and intuition. This encouragement of a data-driven collaboration and teamwork results in higher win rates and faster sales cycles because everyone knows what they are doing and how the pieces fit together.

This function is also the one that ensures that everything is documented – from your marketing automation platforms to your content management systems. It makes sure all these tech stacks speak to each other driving efficiency and unnecessary duplication. With this focus on tech, data and its analytics, this results in increasing pipeline throughout and sales velocity which is something all leaders of the 3 departments I am sure can get behind.

However, how do you know if you need a Revenue Operations person or consultancy (check out Sales for Startups) to help with this? Consider these 3 scenarios:

  • You sense a misalignment between Marketing, Sales and Customer Success
  • The key business metrics don’t match up between these 3 departments
  • There is constant inter-departmental bickering

Even if you’ve answered yes to only one of these questions, you need RevOps. If you have answered yes to 2 of these questions, you surely need RevOps. And I think it goes without saying that, if you have answered Yes to all three questions, you definitely need RevOps!

At Sales for Startups, we work with a host of businesses who have had challenges when it comes to deciding what their GTM strategy should be and how they go about executing it.

First, let us define what a GTM (Go-To-Market) strategy is. It is a critical exercise and can often be the reason businesses succeed or fail in their respective markets. A GTM strategy is the strategy by which you bring your product to market. It has 3 fundamental components: your Target Audience, your Marketing plan and your Sales Strategy.

  • You need to understand who you are trying to sell to, and it should start with the problem that you feel exists in the market. This should have market research to back it up so you substantiate it. Furthermore, your GTM strategy should highlight why this is such a problem and that you have the solution.
  • For your Marketing plan, right now, you have to be omnichannel with your content marketing strategy. What this means is that we are blessed with multiple channels for which to communicate our message so all should be utilised whether it be email marketing, social, paid advertising, traditional advertising, outbound techniques etc. This content marketing will generate more inbound interest, as content drives traffic to your site.
  • Then your Sales strategy can use a number of different options, including self-service, inside sales, field sales etc. really trying to understand what the best medium is for your business. For those companies that have a low-cost, high volume model, the self-service model may be best but those businesses that have a high cost, low volume model, field sales might be better.

Finally, saying that you want to make £1m ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) this year is not a strategy. This is a goal. In order to bring this to fruition, you need to map out the objectives required to hit this goal and in turn what the underlying activities are that if completed all day every day will complete these objectives and therefore see an uplift in revenue. An AOR framework for short!

Having a well thought out GTM strategy is critical; however you need to be flexible and play what is in front of you. Roll with the punches and if there is a good reason to pivot or massage the plan a bit, then if you’re a startup you can do this. If you found Tyson, he who dodges the punch and is still standing is far cleverer than he who takes the knock out because the plan said so. Be creative, considered and confident. And avoid those knockouts wherever possible!

We interviewed Karen Gallantry, General Manager of EMEA for mParticle. mParticle is the customer data platform for brands leading the CX revolution. 

We really wanted to get perspective from Karen, a member of our Tech CEO and leaders community, who can shed light on the question of “why do tech startups fail to grow existing accounts?”

With so much at stake when winning often landmark and enterprise deals, we often falter as Founders and leaders within tech companies to systematically grow the adoption and usage,  and account spend within these hard-fought new customers. 

So over to the interview with Karen and the questions and answers:

 

  • What are the main causes for startups failing to grow existing accounts in your experience?

(Karen) It comes down to failing to implement and getting sticky with the client post-sales. If the handover process from sales to customer success is clunky then it can lead to failure. If the salesperson hasn’t educated the customer during the sales process on how to be successful when they implement their product then it can also lead to failure. I’ve seen customers signed before when they don’t have the resources to implement their solution. Then when you add an implementation cycle to that resource gap and even sometimes when a champion leaves, you can be at high risk of churn. 

(James) Why don’t they have the right resources at the point of sale?

(Karen) Either they haven’t really appreciated it as they’ve been sold the product and haven’t realised they need resources to implement. So when people go through the sales motion, they should be looking to educate the customer on what it takes to go live and be successful. I recommend that you show the customer an implementation guide or best practices for implementations based on the previous customers. However sometimes it’s the customer pushing the buying timescale themselves maybe down to personal motive, price or timescale. So they can go ahead on occasions without the resources themselves. 

In essence I’d say you have to ensure you are selling for success, not just for revenue. 

Two really key points from Karen here: firstly, we need to evaluate our sales handover process with real diligence and investigating whether we have educated the customer on the resources needed to be successful. Secondly, selling for success not just for revenue. This comes from a collective effort from both Sales and Customer Success. 

 

  • Why is there such a gap between Customer Success and Sales?

(Karen) I think it comes down to the compensation structure and sometimes team size. Also the handover process too. Previously, at larger companies, I’ve seen the Customer Success team  responsible for contract renewals and all upsells. If you are looking at a volume-based growth then you maybe you don’t necessarily need a salesperson to be involved?. Although if you have a new product to market or selling to a new business unit, then you need to joint approach Sales and Customer Success. To be successful, you have to have clear standard operating procedures between the two parts of the organisation (CSM vs Sales) to de-conflict potential cross over and to affirm roles in terms of account management and the customer contact is managed by the customer success person and the commercial terms are managed by the salesperson (as an example)

I really like Karen’s take on this topic of ‘new’ business should be owned by the salesperson and this should be documented in your standard operating procedures to ensure there is no conflict between the teams. 

 

  • Who should own renewals, Sales or Customer Success?

(Karen) I think Customer Success needs to own the renewals. The Customer Success person is closest to the customer and has a greater influence on retention. Also, the salesperson will normally be a ‘hunter’ in a new startup and would often prefer not to do some of the admin that is related to renewals. That said obviously it depends a bit of the size and and stage of your company. Maybe you need a swissarmy knife all rounder to start with who can adapt to both.

(James) Does it depend on whether it’s a complex a product-led sale?

(Karen) As you grow your product set it can vary. For example, if it’s a growth in volume or monthly tracked users then a CSM can price that renewal. If it’s a renegotiation of the original contract, a new business unit or a new product to market. You don’t want to conflict the priorities of the CSM, whose role is to ensure that the most value is gained from what the customer has already bought. 

The conflict of priorities is a key point here to take away, as do you want your Customer Success Manager to be distracted with outcomes that don’t increase customer adoption and usage? This should reflect in your compensation but as always your go-to-market strategy and pricing should point towards ownership of renewals. 

 

  • How do you bridge the gaps between Sales and Customer Success?

(Karen) If there is no ‘net new’ business within the account, then a CSM can run with it. If there is a large enterprise customer that you want to expand within then a Quarterly Business Review (QBR) is the ideal way to gather the team and centre the communication back onto the customer and how they are reaping value. I believe that there needs to be some executive presence on the QBR too. So this could include the original seller, the CSM and the senior executive or Account Director.

I’d certainly like to see the content of QBRs improved to include the value that the customer is getting from the platform, how they are using it, how it’s helping them achieve their business goals and what additional use cases that your platform could fulfil to help them achieve additional business value (ie with one eye on the future)

I think the involvement of a Sales Director in both the preparation, planning and attendance in these QBRs would certainly close the gap between the teams.

Karen’s enterprise sales experience here was insightful as QBRs should be more strategic in their nature and a collective team effort to not only empower and ensure the customer is hitting their objectives but also those new business opportunities and therefore additional use cases are revealed in such important meetings by the sales team. 

 

  • What is the link between Customer Success and Marketing?

(Karen) There is certainly a link between Customer Success and Marketing. For example, Marketing will need to have the input of CS to find out who are the key personas, who are the users and who benefit from our platform. Then this can be used in the marketing content.

There’s also a link between Customer Success and Marketing with the creation of customer testimonials, customer advisory board and then personas on key accounts. Marketing can then form different stories and talk tracks depending on their persona, so they can market in the right way. 

 

  • Why do startups spend more time on client acquisition than retention?

(Karen) I think this is largely down to funding. The more customers you acquire and the rate of customer acquisition normally reveals to a funder if you are gaining traction in a (new) market place. You need to prove your business model and the value proposition, so client acquisition is one of the quickest ways to prove product/market fit.

 

  • What have been the best backgrounds for hiring Customer Success?

 (Karen) It’s all about people skills for me. I’ve seen a variety of backgrounds work both from Sales and non-Sales (from IT business analysts to IT consultants). It’s as much about whether they have a passion for wanting people and organisations to be successful, will own a problem and be able to bridge between internal teams. A CSM is much more of a team player and wants to see success in their customer base; alternatively, a Salesperson is often focused on revenue and their quota. In my experience the best CSMs have all shown compassion and wanting to be seen to be helpful and to enable their customers, whilst maintaining commercial awareness and balance to enable the company to grow profitably. They sometimes take it personally when they don’t solve problems for their customers, and creatively manage tension and conflict. 

(CS interview question) How do you deal with that terrible customer and how does it make you feel?

(Sales interview question) What is the most disappointing sale that you didn’t make? 

I like Karen’s take on the attributes that are needed for a customer success individual – compassionate, problem-solver and a team player.

  • Any final thoughts?

(Karen) It’s certainly made me think. I always enjoy conversations like these that make you evaluate your own thinking and previous experiences. 

Over and out from the team at Sales for Startups. We’ll be interviewing other Tech CEOs and Sales leaders like Karen Gallantry, and even examining the problem from a recruitment perspective too. This will enable us to see why we are missing the mark when it comes to growing existing accounts at tech companies. 

 

If you’d like to be interviewed please comment below or feel free to connect with me here on LinkedIn or submit a request on our website

We interviewed Rohit Patni, the Chairman and Co-Founder of Lavanya Plus. Lavanya is helping to improve the care and wellness ecosystem through its digital care platform ensuring accessibility, coordination, payment and delivery of care, health and wellbeing services creates a future where trusted and quality health and social care is accessible to everyone – Connecting Care in Communities.

We really wanted to get perspective from Rohit, a member of our Tech CEO community, who can shed light on the question of “why do tech startups fail to grow existing accounts?”

With so much at stake when winning often landmark and enterprise deals, we often falter as Founders and leaders within tech companies to systematically grow the adoption and usage,  and account spend within these hard-fought new customers. 

So over to the interview with Rohit and the questions and answers:

 

  • What are the main causes for startups failing to grow existing accounts in your experience?

 

(Rohit) It comes down to people. There are two types of people in Sales. There are ‘hunters’ and there are ‘farmers’. The hunters are there to win new business whereas the farmers are there to manage existing accounts. The disparity between these two types of people and their behaviours comes down to compensation. The hunter or new business professional has a salary and an OTE, often double their salary, whereas the Account Managers often have a larger base but less earning potential from commission and more on bonuses. 

Secondly, there is a difference in mindset, the hunter is hungry and normally outbound but the Account Manager or farmer is focused on building relationships rather than signing new accounts. 

In terms of addressing this problem or gap, it comes back to your go-to-market strategy and what and how you sell. For example, if you are selling to larger businesses you are often needing to employ complex solution-selling individuals, where the customer will often want what is beyond the original product offering. If you are a product-led sale, you are normally addressing tactical problems within clients with features and functions. And furthermore, how you price your product will impact the function of your teams and the overlap between them. 

Rohit mentions three great points here for addressing this gap by evaluating your compensation, mindset and go-to-market strategy. 

 

  • Why is there such a gap between Customer Success and Sales?

 

(Rohit) It comes down to lead time. What does the product adoption cycle look like? When do customers get value from your product? When you look back at your go-to-market strategy, you will understand the variances in what you selling and who you are selling to so that you understand if you are simply keeping and retaining the customer – to tackle attrition. Or how much are you upselling products and features during the customer lifecycle? This will help you understand who has ownership for certain activities between Sales and Customer Success.

(James) Can you do both?

(Rohit) Yes, I think it can. Often you see new business professionals wanting to sign a customer and get their commission and pass on the customer. An Account Manager is compensated differently and is more relationship-led. The sales approach can vary based on what you are selling. 

Ask yourself, how are your customers buying your service? Is it subscription or SaaS-based for example? This then allows you to foresee what account management and sales efforts will be needed during the whole customer lifecycle

 

  • How can you bridge the gap between Customer Success and Sales?

 

(Rohit) There’s an element of education for the Sales team. In a startup, you often won’t have a large back-office function seen at larger companies to support the account management function. Therefore, salespeople might have to bridge that gap in an early-stage company. 

Often the Customer Success function is the second consideration after client acquisition. 

(James) Why?

Well, in the early stages, you are focused on client acquisition to gain funding. You want to prove that your product or service has value for your target market and hence your company is worth investing in. For an investor, this is a question of maths and ROI. I’ll put this amount of money and we forecast that the company will grow to this extent and go for a future round at this time and valuation and hence my return will be y. 

 

  • Who should be responsible for renewals, Sales or Customer Success?

 

(Rohit) It should be the job of Account Managers. Bottom line, it’s my job as an Account Manager, to lead client renewal and retention. As a CEO, I don’t want my top salesperson doing two days per week on account management, I would appoint one or two people to manage my existing accounts and reflect that in the compensation plans to drive the right behaviours. 

Often for contract negotiations and renewals, it should be built into the original contract. For example, you can build in tiers or renewal arrangements into the original contracts. But it comes back to whether you are selling a product-led or solution sell? 

Rohit mentioned a good point here, if your top new business salesperson is consistently selling to new customers, you want them out there selling to more. Otherwise, they perhaps could get distracted with ‘business-as-usual’ items that would dramatically reduce their selling time. 

 

 

  • What’s the link between Customer Success and Marketing?

 

(Rohit) It depends on your go-to-market strategy. How much do you need to keep awareness with the people you have sold to or the stakeholders? For example with some of our corporate clients, we do pop-ups, exhibitions, showcase events to keep top of mind in the eyes of the staff at that company.

There is a correlation between retention and marketing. You need to think about which marketing strategies are you going to use. Are you using social and digital marketing? Or are you using more traditional strategies like exhibitions or events? It certainly does vary if you are B2B or B2C. B2B is certainly more direct marketing and selling. It’s normally about maintaining awareness. 

B2B will buy off track record and reference-ability first.

This is a key observation that Rohit mentions about buying off track record and reference-ability.  What does this mean in practice?

This means that your marketing team needs to be focused on creating customer testimonials and case studies where references can be taken. Therefore in the eyes of a new buyer, there are speaking to someone just like them who wants to achieve similar goals and hence the buying decision is a lot easier for that new prospective client. This customer testimonial process is one of the most neglected areas of customer success and marketing in my opinion. You need to use your first customers to sell to other customers. 

This is paramount with a tech startup where you may only have 5-10 initial customers to call upon to create case studies and testimonials.

 

  • What type of attributes make a successful Account Manager?

 

(Rohit) My belief is if they are good at selling / account managing and have a proven track record then they can be adaptable to the business sector. In other words, they will learn the product/solution they sell.

 As individuals, they need empathy and ability to listen. They need to be able to capture needs and assign the right solution and be bold enough to say ‘sorry can’t help you with this at the moment, but will let you know when I can’ – honesty plays a big role in building relationships.

 Clearly a desire to have a financial (commission/bonus) upside needs to be there otherwise why apply for sales orientated roles.

 They also need to be given a path to personal growth in the company – ‘executive’ to ‘manager’ to ‘head of’ etc. and at some point in time become team leaders. This will build personal motivation, ownership and drive.

  • Any final thoughts?

(Rohit) Compensation is key. It has to be attributed properly to Sales and Customer Success. And then your go-to-market strategy is it a product or solution you are selling? This will then reflect on the selection of your sales model. 

 

Over and out from the team at Sales for Startups. We’ll be interviewing other Tech CEOs and Customer Success leaders like Rohit, and even examining the problem from a recruitment perspective too. This will enable us to see why we are missing the mark when it comes to growing existing accounts at tech companies. 

If you’d like to be interviewed please comment below or feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or submit a request on our website