The Danger of Following the Herd in B2B Sales Strategy
Technology entrepreneurs are celebrated for their creativity and boundary-pushing – having the vision and determination to create a business, raise finance, and develop technology. However, something strange seems to happen when it comes to implementing a B2B Sales strategy. They stop innovating and leading and simply start following the herd.
This phenomenon can be seen when new companies outline their initial Sales Approach. They come up with an arbitrary sales figure that’s usually intended to satisfy VCs and Investors.
The typical Sales Approach for Start Ups is as follows:
Hire a heavy hitter VP of Sales
Call all the VCs’ and Investors’ ‘hot contacts.’
Call everyone in the Heavy Hitter’s Rolodex.
Follow up calls and emails from ‘Technology Scouts from Big Industry’ who’ve heard about the company through ‘VC Watch’ websites.
And the result of all this activity? A series of meetings about meetings to confirm a meeting. And after all that you then find out your solution to a particular problem is NOT a problem they particularly care about. So, these exchanges usually conclude with ‘The technology looks cool, and we wish you the very best of luck.’
The next stages in the Sales Approach are then:
The VP of Sales blames Marketing and gets ‘busy’ hiring additional reps, or reallocating territories.
The VP of Sales faces recriminations for not closing deals and not meeting targets.
The VP of Sales is fired.
The Board of Directors begins the search for the next ‘Heavy Hitter.’
Repeat the process ad-infinitum until the money runs out or until the company accidentily stumbles through.
Why does this happen time and time again?
The answer lies deep within human history and that when faced with uncertainty we tend to follow the instincts of the herd. Being part of a group is comforting, and it is far easier to adopt the views of friends and advisors than to challenge them. This approach maintains the status quo, but prevents new thinking and makes change harder to achieve. When an entrepreneur becomes part of the senior management herd they are demonstrating the opposite characteristics that made him or her want to be an entrepreneur!
For the Start-Ups following the herd means that it is unlikely that you will ever be able to determine the needs of your buyers, craft a suitable sales approach or build a platform for rapid, sustainable growth. Defining, executing and measuring a successful sales approach is a BIG task, requiring far more than simply a ‘half-day planning exercise.’
Sales Approaches require careful thought. Start Ups need to have a comprehensive and detailed plan that shows how they are going to sell their products. Relying on binary sales tactics, and the size of someone’s Rolodex, does not create the necessary foundations for future success.
Contact us to find out more about designing and implementing a successful Sales Approach for your company and create the foundations for growth and success.