Many tech founders experience scrappy sales. These types of sales don’t have any structure or a proper process: essentially, you’re throwing mud at the wall and hoping something sticks without having a plan in place. It’s easy for founders to find themselves in this position, especially when they have so much on their plate. But how do you avoid the scrappy sales cycle and build a reliable process that works?
What does scrappy sales look like?
- Taking on too much
Founders often have it all to do and are required to wear every single hat in the business. It can lead to you struggling to find enough time in the day while being stretched thin to the point where you’re at capacity.
When you’re this busy it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Taking a step back and working out a better way to deliver sales can feel impossible.
2. Unclear sales proposition
Early-stage startups often find themselves needing to develop and refine processes. If it’s still early days, you probably haven’t nailed your sales proposition just yet. It might not be clear who exactly you’ve developed the solution for.
Without having a detailed profile on your target market, you’ll find it hard to sell to them. This can result in scrappy sales, where your offer is unpolished and needs refining. It doesn’t mean you’ll fail, but it’s not sustainable.
3. No sales background
It’s not uncommon for founders to be light on sales experience. Unless they’ve come from a sales background, it won’t be an area of strength. More than likely, you have a product or tech background, and that’s great.
But it doesn’t help when it comes to nailing the sales pitch and putting a team in place to progress the business. Even if you do have a sales background, unless it’s in SaaS, you’ll still find yourself coming up against a brick wall and having mixed results.
4. Playbook needs refinement
Whether you call it a playbook, process or strategy, having a plan in place is vital for moving the needle. Without one, you’ll likely face resistance when you’re pitching. Plus, you’ll never be sure if you’re going about things the right way.
You may struggle to answer specific questions or even know which ones will be asked. Will you be able to tackle elements about why conversion is more valuable than lead gen or how to qualify the right type of prospects? There will be gaps in your approach, which means you’ll most likely find yourself in a scrappy sales cycle
How to avoid a scrappy sales cycle
- Put a plan in place
Everyone needs a plan to progress, especially in SaaS sales. That’s not to say you should stop sales entirely, and you’ll need to lean on it as you put a strategy in place. But you should focus on creating a sales strategy that everyone in the sales team can follow so you move away from scrappy sales and end up with a watertight plan aimed at increasing business.
2. Take time to focus on sales
Without sales, the business will struggle. Even if you have funding in place, sooner or later investors will want to see progress. Take time to focus your efforts on the sales side of things and build processes and structures that lay the foundation for your sales team.
3. Work with experts
The above suggestions look great on paper, but how do you act on them if you’re pressed for time? Working with a sales consultancy gives you access to professionals who understand who to build a sales structure at a business. Instead of making a VP hire and asking them to build the team, a consultancy can put those processes in place that other team members can adopt. Instead of firefighting and being reactive, you can be proactive and increase conversions.
4. From scrappy to happy
Most startups find themselves unintentionally adopting a scrappy sales process in the early stages. It can work in the short term, but you’ll need a plan for sustainable growth in the long term. Having a strategy in place and building processes with your sales can turn your scrappy sales into a refined set up designed to win.