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.
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.
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).
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.
Scrape/collect as much data as possible about the target market.
Research the competition.
- 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
- research past clients & prospects / identify patterns
- define ICP How to build an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
- define key USP / value propositions Unique Selling Point
- engage network who could help with insights about / introductions to TAM
- 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..)
- product knowledge deep dive The importance of product knowledge in B2B sales
- setting up chat tool for Sales collaboration (eg Slack) Slack
- CRM data cleaning & analysis
- sending first cold emails tests
- cold emails replies / messaging
- finalise initial Lead Generation Plan, with prioritisation Lead Generation Plan