Setting up a Sales function from scratch

when only inbound & PLG drove the business so far.

👷🏼‍♂️ WORK IN PROGRESS 👷🏼‍♂️

A well-oiled Sales function is the engine that drives growth - it can make or break a company.

At high-level it consists of:

  • a set of processes
  • based on methodology(ies)
  • led by a Sales leader
  • powered by a team of salespeople
  • supported by the rest of the company
  • and empowered by Technology

08 Mar 2023

I'm assessing an opportunity to work with a company that has been growing organically - just inbound leads & PLG - for the past 5+ years.

Here are some of the things to do to setup an Outbound Sales function from scratch:

  • in-depth analysis of Sales to date (to inform strategy & tactics)
  • in-depth product understanding (to help identifying key value propositions & USPs)
  • in-depth competitive analysis, per competitor (to setup targeted displacement campaigns)
  • defining Ideal Customer Profile(s) and Buyer Personas (needed for targeting & personalisation of outbound activities)
  • generating prospect lists & segmentation logic (for outbound campaigns)
  • generating outbound messaging by persona
  • setting up outbound lead generation campaigns (eg email, LinkedIn, communities, etc..) Outbound Lead Generation
  • creating content for outreach & demos (screenshots, videos, etc..) How to run Sales Demos & Producing Sales videos
  • defining a qualification methodology B2B Sales Qualification Methodologies
  • nailing down the Discovery process (key to ensure a higher price tag sale & increase close ratio)
  • creating & tuning a demo flow to maximise engagement & close ratio
  • setting up data structure / CRM (Hubspot?) for deal tracking & forecasting
  • creating proposal template(s) & automations

Implementing a Sales stack

These days, it's impossible to run a Sales function without a stack of tools.

What is a B2B Sales stack?

Though starting from a blank slate, not all tools are needed at the same time.

First and foremost, a proper CRM.


My go-to is Hubspot Hubspot

Quick, easy & free to implement - including import of existing data.

Knowlege base

This is where all the internal Sales knowledge will reside and be shared. Ideally, part of it can also be shared externally - much easier to send a link to a prospect than a long sub-par blurb of text in an email.

My go-to is Notion Notion


Ramp up in a messy way

While I'm the first one to believe in implementing good processes - needed for scale & efficiency - it's not possible to do so from day 1.

In the context of setting up a Sales function from scratch, the goal is to get started quickly - and then iterate.

Because it's the doing, that will inform what the processes should be.

Spending days, weeks & months to create the perfect processes from the get-go is a waste of time - and building frustration, inefficiencies & "process debt" (you're gonna pay the price sooner or later).



Prospecting in B2B Sales

At first, once the product/service has been proven with direct customers, finding opportunities with leverage is important to grow quicker.

Finding opportunities with leverage


B2B Sales Qualification Methodologies


Sales Leader / VP Sales

The Role of a VP Sales at a SaaS Company and What Makes One Great & The Role of a VP Sales at a SaaS Company and What Makes One Great-playbook

Building the team

Sales-oriented company culture

Activities when starting from scratch

Here is a day-by-day of my engagement, setting up Sales from scratch in a (so far) PLG, word-of-mouth & inbound-driven only company.

Note that each day's bullet points are not necessarily sequential - they are just a list of things I have done or initiated. Some are workstreams that will take a few days or more to complete.

Pre-start work

Scrape/collect as much data as possible about the target market.
Research the competition.

Day 1

  • setup CRM Hubspot
  • finalise initial data collection of companies in TAM
  • analyse data from past Sales
  • setup knowledge base and start populating it / both existing & new knowledge
  • start laying down the Lead Generation Plan

Day 2

Day 3

  • finalise initial data ingestion in CRM / both past data (cleaning, etc..) & new data (TAM data collected)
  • start working on scraping process for target companies to identify higher priority targets (those with keywords on website) & collect personalisation data Scrapee !projects!meta-url
  • research a few key target companies in-depth. Find hooks, insights, ways in, etc.. (also informs what to scrape for)
  • start collecting lead contact details within TAM companies (part of the website scraping process if target companies list contacts on their website, else Linekdin, etc..)

Day 4

Day 5

  • cold emails replies / messaging