Part 3: Diversions of an Expected Journey
First, we set out the typical mistakes made in sales, then we took a little look at history, the short version of the evolution of sales history or rather a fast forward through to the most relevant point and why understanding your customer, shaping your Go To Market is vital for any start up….
‘If the customer relationship doesn’t convert into bankable revenue, it’s game over – no business.’
So what should you expect along the journey:
Know and accept that below is true – you will have your plan and the reality will of course be more of an uphill battle than you expect. You have all felt this, figured out a way across and out of the dips. You’ll want to fall in love with this process. It’s an emotive one and let’s face it figuring out how exactly you bring value to a customer in exchange for bankable revenue is why you exist. You are part of an infinite game to solve a problem, to bring a real solution that delivers outstanding value, that shifts and changes industries.
You will get it wrong many times, every time that you do, is an opportunity to learn
At the beginning, it’s all about customer discovery. That translates into an understanding mindset, work to understand where the real value actually is and the level of priority of the problem with your customer persona and market focus.
From customer discovery, you will move into an attempt to scale. This is effectively the spiral of Product Market Fit. During customer discovery, you’ve had personal interactions with the people your delivering value to, they come to rely on your personal insights and you’ve walked the fine ledge between becoming a consulting business with technology and scaling for the technology business.
Expect that you will need to address
How do we provide the personal experience to customer supported by technology?
What is the culture and values we’re building into our whole team and their connections?
Directly with the customer, collect feedback and review the changes in approach
What was the special ‘magic’ that keeps the customers returning?
What product evolution do we need to do to address the customer experience?
At the beginning you’re focused on founder led sales and often with technical founders, this means you’ve built an initial culture that is embedded with to building the product out. Technical talent represents the biggest proportion of your overall budget and the team is building on customer input, without the demands of customer revenue. As you grow your commercial strength and revenues, expect that your customers are going to become more demanding, your new Product Manager/Commercial team will start to demand features and product roadmap that will come into perceived and real conflict with the technical product build out.
Expect that you will need to:
Evolve the product in line with company vision, whilst addressing customer demands
Learn how to say no to certain customer requests and manage expectations
Create an internal communication structure and culture for dealing with competing demands and being clear on decisions
When you try your first GTM strategy, and it takes a year to play out on big enterprise clients because they will make decisions on a different timeline to you (slowly), they seem to be making the right noises but those noises don’t turn into recurring revenue. You realise you need to change something because you didn’t understand the customer pain quite as well as you thought. Building a deep tech company and selling to Enterprise clients, the feedback loop is much slower than some website you can throw up and see if the clicks follow.
Expect the simple fact – Enterprise Sales is really hard and there are many different reasons why it’s not working. The subject requires deeper attention – for now – these are the 3 best posts that can help to uncover what may be occurring.
Balance – the balance between sales and your product development
Customer persona, culture match and understanding
Uncovering the real problem – why is this not working?
Inside Out – The Mistakes, History & Expected Journey
Back in the very first GTM series, we set out a few how-to guides – practical advice on sales & customers to support the Seed to Series A Entrepreneur. Over this series, we’ve dug into a few histories to explain lessons learnt and optimistically help you to create the future knowing a better path.
We’ll dig into deep specific topics on managing pipelines, pricing strategies and more.