The Enterprise Sale for Start-ups

When I was selling software in my first start-up (Dynamic Mobile Data – wireless dispatch and vehicle location software), the world of software was very different from when it was today.  Other than small consulting projects around my software, I was never selling anything for less than $200,000.  The idea was to have few clients each year at a high dollar amount.   I sold to Fortune 500 companies a large enterprise-wide solution.  This included desktop software, server software, database set-ups, and more.  Each of my software sales had an 18% annual maintenance which included product updates, phone support, and more.

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Minimizing Sales Staff and Re-evaluating Comp Plans

As the credit crisis holds, many start-ups are going to start looking to make sure that they hold onto cash as long as they can.

That may include the decision to eliminate and/or outsource a portion of your sales staff.  And, this can often be a very wise business decision.  Of course, the cartoon to the right takes it to the extreme, but as start-ups and other companies decide to eliminate sales staff, the challenge becomes on how do you continue (and accelerate) your trajectory in sales with less sales staff and potentially less resources (minimized travel budget, etc).

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Daylight Savings! An extra hour to sell!

OK – so this post has nothing to do with sales really.  Its more that twice a year I sit and ponder the absolute lunacy around Daylight Savings Time.  The amount of money the world governments have spent deciding whether or not to move clocks twice a year, and when to do it just drives me insane.

But… you get an extra hour of sunlight.  Um… no you don’t.  You are just moving the clocks..  But, you save energy by getting up in sunlight.  Ah… so get up at a different time.

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Win, Lose, or Draw

I’ve gotten into two lengthy discussions recently about draw as a sales compensation component.  Specifically, since I work with start-ups, the questions were around whether or not you should offer up a draw or not as part of the compensation package.

I have some very strong opinions about draw, and I want to start by going over the basics.  Draw is compensation offered to a new salesperson coming on board.  There is a “draw period” which is the time over which the draw is paid.  (typically 3 to 6 months).  There are two types of draw:

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End of the year run…Grabbing Unused Budgets

In many large companies, departments get “use-it-or-lose-it” budgets.  What this means is that they get dollars for projects for that year, and if they don’t use up all of that money by the end of the year, then they don’t get to spend it.  It does not roll over until the next year.  This is where salespeople looking to finish out their own year great can capitalize.  It requires you to be flexible in your pricing technique, but you can very often push through a sale that might otherwise take a very long time to close.

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Startup Spark: Don't forget you need customers

I read a short post on Startup Spark about making sure that entrepreneurs don’t forget that they need to find customers for their new ventures.

Ah – how true… and who makes that happen?  The sales team.

Sales for start-ups is not easy and its certainly not for everyone.  You are building your product and your market at the same time you are trying to build a customer base.  But, when you can convince those companies to give your start-up a chance, its one of the most rewarding feelings for a sales person.

Hmm…Why do you ask?

Salespeople love to talk.  Its a common theme at QuotaCrush.  I’ve recently done two posts on it: Never Vomit on your Customers, and Two Ears, One Mouth.   Expanding on this topic…salespeople need to make sure that whenever they answer questions in a sales pitch, that they need to understand why the question was asked.

The natural tendency when someone asks you a question is to give an immediate answer to that question.  However, unless you understand the motivation behind the question, the chance is that you will answer the question with information that is not relavant or with information that will not move the deal closer to the sale.  And, you will have lost a perfect opportunity to learn more about the customer.

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Shiny Rocks

Yesterday at breakfast, I started what turned into a lively and quite humorous discussion with my fellow attendees at the National Angel Organization annual summit in Halifax.

My observation is that humans have not progressed much since caveman days.

Oooh... shiny rocks!

Everything that we do revolves around shiny rocks.

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  • We base our wealth on who has the biggest pile of shiny rocks
  • We store shiny rocks in vaults and print money based on how many we have
  • Monetary policy is based on how to trade shiny rocks.