Thursday, 12 August 2010

Is Your Business Really “Sales” Ready?

So – you have your product, your founder has tested the sales temperature, you’ve landed funding so it's all hands on deck to hire that crack sales team.... or is it?

One of the things I have noticed in early stage land of late is that some businesses are suddenly finding their sales pipeline is not what they thought it was and ill thought out strategies are being tested to breaking point in the current climate.

Evidence perhaps that too many people have rushed into employing a sales team before completely understanding their sales strategy. And also evidence that the sales strategy has not kept current in a rapidly changing business climate.

Common mistakes I see:

Unclear sales strategy – usually borne from a founder being too close to the product and failing to look up and around the market during launch phase.

They misread the early sales made by passionate, driven founders as “evidence of real market demand”.

They fail to take account of objective external views and miss key longer term niches while focussing on the big, low hanging fruit deals.

They fail to articulate what they are actually selling - confused customers do not buy! I see many brilliant ‘techies’ with sound products that actually fail to reach market maturity because they simply can’t sit the other side of the ball and see it from a “customer” perspective and sell it on that basis.

They can’t effectively present product or service features and benefits – what you think is your product's strengths actually isn’t necessarily what your customers think.

They over complicate entering the market – there’s more than one way to crack a nut...

What they are selling actually might not be fully complete or their pricing model is not fit for purpose and does not match the clients’ needs as a business.

They fail to plan long and short term sales pipelines – how to balance keeping the investors happy whilst building long-term value in the business is an art form!

And ... worst of all they rush their hiring and end up with the wrong people ... and that’s where we come in.

Average cost of a failed hire = 3 x salary at the last count ... makes my fees look better value than ever!

By Debby Lloyd,
Managing Director, EcoSearch

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