Great TechCrunch post on sales strategies in startups

Coming back to blogging after a little holiday break, I ran across this great post by Matt Bell of Azaleos:
$0 to $20 Million: Ten Hand-to-Hand Sales Tactics

There’s a lot of good stuff here and I’d encourage anyone developing a sales and marketing strategy for an enterprise software start up to read this. There are a ton of articles on software sales, but most of them don’t get the enterprise dynamics quite right. This one gets closer.

The items that stand out for me are items 5 and 6: Once you make an initial sale to an enterprise client, you do have to “move in” with the client and become essential to the operation. And, yes, selling new software takes a lot of “swagger.” Every start up organization needs that swagger in its enterprise sales staff.

The only important thing that I think gets consistently left out in many discussions of enterprise sales is the “project sponsor” dynamic, which we’ve found to be incredibly important. Your entire experience with a particular client is likely to be dependent on the strength or weakness of that relationship, and the rising or falling status of that sponsor within the organization. Your understanding of the organization, and their understanding of yours, comes through the lens of that sponsor. Tough, important stuff that deserves a post of its own.

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This blog is dedicated to providing advice, tools and encouragement from one entrepreneur to another. I want to keep this practical and accessible for the new entrepreneur while also providing enough sophistication and depth to prove useful to the successful serial entrepreneur. My target rests somewhere between the garage and the board room, where the work gets done and the hockey stick emerges.

One thought on “Great TechCrunch post on sales strategies in startups”

  1. InvisibleMarketing says:

    Great post — and great link. Thx for sharing.

    RE project sponsors — this is a dynamic in all enterprise sales, whether or not you’re selling software.

    Becoming embedded (as Matt describes) diminishes the startup’s exclusive reliance on one sponsor by developing a network of relationships between the prospect/client and your startup.

    The higher up the chain this network extends, the better your chances of succeeding both in winning the business and at the deployment after the sale.

    Relying on the perspective of only one project sponsor, even if that sponsor is a senior executive with a good-sounding title, is a significant risk as you describe.

    That doesn’t mean you walk away if you can’t get all the access to all the people you want.

    But the number and quality of relationships should be one of the inputs for your pipeline forecast and client health review.

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