Founder, stop doing sales or you will hurt your company

Piotr Zaniewicz in

Blog/Startup Growth/Founder, stop doing sales or you will hurt your company

As a business founder, you’re going to face a life-changing dilemma when you decide that it’s time to develop your company into a real business instead of a mom&pops store.

Early-on you could do sales at your company and get away with it. But when your team grows and more people need you, focusing on sales will eventually kill other parts of your business.

So should you continue talking to your clients, or is there a better way to run sales?

The sales bottleneck

I see this with a lot of our customers – they’re founders and CEOs that do sales themselves.

The thing is, this theoretically works as long as everything is “fine” in your business. But when shitstorms break out, you’re the one that has to deal with them and suddenly you don’t have time to sell.

Yup, it’s that serious

At a certain stage of growth you won’t have that time at all. Growth is highly correlated with the amount of shitstorms/day (I’m sure there’s an equation for this somewhere). Are you willing to work 24/7 and devote 100% of your life to your company? Because that’s what you would have to do to maintain your company, and get new clients.

Stop limiting your business

As the CEO (if you currently have this problem), this problem might seem impossible to solve because you’re in the middle of all this. How do you get out? You have to realise one thing

You’ll never be able to focus only on sales.

Or any other department. Your team will need you more and more as the company grows, requiring you to be a multitasking, problem solving leader and not a sales rep.

Depending on what you can afford, there are 4 ways to keep your company running and boost sales too:

1. Lead generation companies

You can’t give away the WHOLE sales process, don’t even think about it because that idea is one straight from the realm of dreams.

Starting new sales conversations, however, can be done by someone else and RightHello can do it for you.

Our customers are often CEOs that need to start new sales conversations, but don’t have the time to find potential customers, find their contact data and approach them. We relieve them of those tasks, leaving them the choice of which clients to target.

This solution will work best after you’ve done your share of early stage sales, or as a boost to the solutions that follow. It’s best if you already have working knowledge of your target market and customers before you employ a lead generation company.

2. Hire or delegate to your team

Spend your time on chores like prospecting and scheduling calls and meetings and you’ll feel drained. You’ll waste a whole lot of your time too.

Make it easier for yourself and hire an assistant, or delegate these tasks to someone from your team.

In an ideal scenario, that person would find the right clients, approach them and schedule in your name, leaving you to just show up for meetings and calls.

They could also take care of managing incoming deals that you successfully acquire – sending documents, signing, etc.

It’s important to say that this will make your life easier but only short-term, it’s a good solution for very early stage companies. If your company keeps growing your workflows will get clogged again, and you’ll have to go further by taking steps described in the following points.

3. Hire an experienced sales representative

You could hire a sales rep to help you, but you’ll have to look for someone with experience in your industry.

Otherwise you’d have to teach him, and it will be hard if you don’t have expertise beyond doing early stage founder sales.

Your new hire should be able to quickly take over and talk to customers in your name, leaving you with time to look after your company.

It doesn’t have to be someone from the outside – it could be a promotion for a product manager from your team that has sales capabilities. Depends if you have that kind of person on-board.

This is a more long-term solution than #2, but at some point you will need additional salespeople and also someone to manage them. It will solve your problems if you don’t have huge need for revenue yet, but want to start building a foundation for more sales in the future.

4. Find a sales co-founder

It was my choice of action when I saw that I’m limiting RightHello’s sales growth.

Closing deal early-on makes you rich in insights about your target market. But if you’re not a seasoned sales manager, it’ll be hard to build a sales team based just on what you learned.

You have to get someone like that if you want to quickly revv up your sales engine. Combining your market knowledge and their mad skills will put you on the right track towards a powerful inhouse sales dept.

This is a good solution if you’re set on fast growth from the start so the sooner you find a sales co-founder, the faster you’ll grow.

You are the bottleneck in making your company a real business

Don’t fool yourself that you’ll skyrocket sales using your own skills and wit (and time!). You’ll leave many other issues unattented, and once there’s too many of them your company will start failing.

If you don’t want your company to stay small, start organising sales properly right now. Because if you try to do everything yourself, your company will become weaker and weaker as things fall through the cracks, and your mistakes will come back to hit you right in the kisser.

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Piotr Zaniewicz

Founder and CEO at RightHello. Believes that the most important validation of business ideas is to find paying clients. That’s when you know you’re going in the right direction.

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