In the era of technical founders, minimal viable products, and raising investment rounds, sales is a topic less discussed. However, it is a function your startup will need regardless of whether you are entering the growth phase or trying to acquire your first customers. At Sales Lab we discuss enterprise sales related topics from building partnerships to evaluating opportunities.
We’ve had three successful events and we’re gearing up for a fourth (and probably more.) Here are a few things we’ve learned from the meetups so far:
1. There are myriad ways to conduct sales
Helery Pops from Pipedrive and Andrea Boetti from Fortumo described two very different ways to conduct sales. The first being an inbound sales focused machine relying more on marketing to deliver inbound leads for salespeople to capitalizeon. The second being a more outbound B2B sales focused team, with a very long sales cycle and strong vendor lock-ins down the line.
While very different in the overall methods of acquisition, there were still a solid amount of similarities from onboarding, to a metrics driven approach, to handling sales. It all highlights that while sales vary from product to market to method, there is still much to learn and share from others in the field.
2. All great salespeople have a few key characteristics
Our own Lauri Kinkar and Ranol Kaseväli from Southwestern Advantage took to the stage at Sales lab #2 to share what makes great salespeople, as well as how to hire them.
Ranol highlighted the need for an independent mind, self-discipline, and a go-getter attitude for success in sales. Lauri put emphasis on supporting new members of the sales team from the start. Helping them grow, instead of the hire fast, fire fast approach. He also noted that an overall entrepreneurial mindset is crucial to developing true sales chops.
3. Forging long-lasting partnerships is a delicate and intricate art
At Sales Lab #3, Tarvo Topolev from RebelRoam and Raido Saar from ÖÖD Houses tackled building partnerships, and understanding partner development to capitalize on opportunities and close deals.
Tarvo highlighted their system of assessing the opportunity at hand and giving an estimate of how well the deal is going. By covering a range of questions such as, “are all the key stakeholders identified,” or, “is there a champion driving this topic forward,” they can give a degree of warmth of a deal, as well as draw attention to possible faults in the development of a partnership. This helps them solve problems before they arise and drive the conversation in the right direction.
Raido explained the biggest mistake one can make in building long-term partnerships: Selling what you have, instead of learning what the customer needs and wants to buy. This leaves the customer unhappy and rather unwilling to conduct any future transactions.
With three Sales Labs down so far, we’ve been able to cover key sales topics from a practical point of view to help founders. New sales teams and seasoned vets look at sales from different perspectives and have a few takeaways in their bag as they go. Our next Sales Lab event will cover spotting opportunities –we hope to see friends and new faces at the meetup!