Video of a SalesCollider talk at PiCampus in Rome, Italy
Last month, I was lucky enough to meet with a fantastic group of startup founders at PiCampus, a truly amazing incubator and AI school in Rome, Italy. They invited me to give a talk on building predictable growth through customer-driven sales processes.
I wanted to give a HUGE thank you to my gracious hosts—Gianluca, Silvio and Jamshid—for inviting me to speak. They’ve developed a very impressive program at PiCampus and I highly recommend checking them out.
Here’s a recording of my talk and a few notes on the ideas I discussed:
Narrowing Down Your Customer Market
When trying to identify your target customer, don’t cast too wide of a net. You’re never going to be able to sell your product to every company on earth, no matter what it is. You’re probably not even going to be able to sell to every company that has a website, or every person who uses Garage band. Those markets are just too broad.
Start by testing your sales process on a small group of similar companies. Go after companies that are all in the same industry, with a similar budget and a comparable number of employees. This will help you to experiment with the market in order to figure out who your ideal customer is.
Even those companies that do become household names (like Yelp, for example) start with a very small market and expand outward over time. Do yourself a favor and focus on targeting companies that fit a specific profile before you start trying to take over the world.
Understanding Where Deals Went Wrong
Remember, the buying process looks a lot different than the sales process. Once you figure out who your best (and ideal) customers are, you can start to build a sales process that aligns with the way those companies buy things. If all of your companies do a strategic alignment call before they buy anything, you should prepare to do that call with each and every prospect.
When you have a sales process, and your customers’ buying processes, mapped out, you’ll be able to refer to those maps when deals fall through. If you didn’t do that key alignment call, for example, it could mean that this is where the deal went wrong. Then, you can make sure to do that call early on in your next deal.
Solidify Job Descriptions
Before you hire anyone, you should understand the requirements of each role. You never want to hire a sales team, after all, if they don’t have the skills to sell your product.
If most of your deals involve a technical validation call, for example, you need an employee that has enough tech knowledge to handle those calls. Now, I’m not saying to hire someone too early on. As the founder of the company, you should be handling these calls until you get your sales process down. But you should know in the back of your mind that, when you do start hiring a sales team, you’ll need someone to hop on the phone and talk tech during that step of the process.