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What would you say is the biggest mistake startups make when it comes to sales?

๐ŸŽˆ Mentorship
๐Ÿ‘‘ Sales Strategy
๐Ÿงข Sales Management
38
Adored
Valued Contributor
+5
Sales Director
Overly aggressive headcount growth in sales...all too often precipitates a cull if growth doesn't go as planned.
bamageorge
Celebrated Contributor
+9
International Sales Director
100% right!ย 
RollOverBeethoven
Contributor
+2
Commercial Director
Not measuring or setting metrics. There's always an 'ends meets the means' mentality in startups. Which makes sense. They won't get their next round of funding without hitting their goals. But in doing so, they just delay the idea of measuring certain KPIs. So when their top rep leaves, so does their top rep's process flow.
bamageorge
Celebrated Contributor
+9
International Sales Director
Great input!ย 
Kinonez
Celebrated Contributor
+9
WR Enthusiast
Not keeping track of costs, not knowing their net margins, terrible logistics structure. These are the most common I would say.ย 

My personal failures have come from bad partners, and running out of cash without out an investor. The sales have always been there for me, but sometimes thatโ€™s not enough!
bamageorge
Celebrated Contributor
+9
International Sales Director
Absolutely! poor cash management is definitely one of the top reasons!ย 

Kinonez
Celebrated Contributor
+9
WR Enthusiast
Oh yeah,ย I've been part of that problem!
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Jackywaky
Arsonist
+9
Master of Disaster
Not considering the long game run - when you start selling then you mainly focus on getting money, but not really planning - because you're in survival mode.ย 
bamageorge
Celebrated Contributor
+9
International Sales Director
Planning is key! Great point, Jacky!
Jackywaky
Arsonist
+9
Master of Disaster
Kinda mandatory - just don't spend a whole Q planning.ย 
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Ryase1113
Opinionated
+3
Regional Director
Trying to be profitable out of the gate.ย  ย There are Multi-Billion dollar companies that have never had a net positive quarter!ย  Build your brand, take feedback/guidance from your customers and your staff, be flexible and willing to pivot as necessary and the revenue WILL come (as long as your product has value in the market).
bamageorge
Celebrated Contributor
+9
International Sales Director
One step at a time! Great input!ย 
Rupert_Pupkin
Contributor
+2
Account Executive
Someone said it below but over-hiring should be a huge red flag. The sales capacity is set too early based on a projected growth or open territory instead of gradually gauging market fit and demand for the product. Hire a ton of salespeople, 30% hit quota, 30% hit 70% or so, and the other 40% are porked.
DungeonsNDemos
Politicker
+7
AE of B2B
Yeah, but then how can they claim HUGE GROWTH without hiring a boatload of people???
Rupert_Pupkin
Contributor
+2
Account Executive
It's so true. Regardless of whether everyone is participating, it's important to have 600 seats on the "rocketship" instead of 200 productive ones
bamageorge
Celebrated Contributor
+9
International Sales Director
100% on point!ย 
thalassophile888
Opinionated
+5
Enterprise Solutions Engineer
Not staying close to the users/customers. Not taking product feedback seriously. Not hiring the right sales leader for the job.
uncorpse
Politicker
+5
Sales Development
100% on the feedback!ย 
bamageorge
Celebrated Contributor
+9
International Sales Director
Totally!
bamageorge
Celebrated Contributor
+9
International Sales Director
Customer service is as important as the actual product/service! I agree with you.ย 
InQ5WeTrust
Arsonist
+8
Sales Savages, what is our profession? Trauma!
Changing focus/mission creep. The previous company started as enterprise-focused then switched to SMB while the CEO kept dreaming of B2C. None were successful.ย 
SmallySmalls
Opinionated
+5
Caffeine Queen
'Scaling' the sales team before having true product-market fit (recurring revenue).

Seen so many startups raise an A after product-message fit only to have 50% churn, a ton of outbound, and abysmal conversion.ย 
cw95
Politicker
+6
Pricing Executive
Going for and missing the whales & settling for the school of tuna.
cw95
Politicker
+6
Pricing Executive
As many have said, get a customer and ignore them. Easy win, quick exit.
uncorpse
Politicker
+5
Sales Development
Turning everyone into a Salesman.ย 
bamageorge
Celebrated Contributor
+9
International Sales Director
No structure whatsoever! I hear ya!
thalassophile888
Opinionated
+5
Enterprise Solutions Engineer
Updating the pricing structure multiple times in a year to point that you make it onto HackerNews! ๐Ÿ˜‚
bamageorge
Celebrated Contributor
+9
International Sales Director
Hahaha wow!
Mooney
Politicker
+12
Director of Sales
Not defining the right ICP and going after โ€˜Enterpriseโ€™ sales before the product is ready. Focusing their energy on growing the product based in their belief rather than listening to customers and the market.
bamageorge
Celebrated Contributor
+9
International Sales Director
You're 100% on point!ย 
StonedColdClozr
Opinionated
+4
Business Development
Giving the sales leadership too much input into the direction of the company.
bamageorge
Celebrated Contributor
+9
International Sales Director
Definitely!ย 
UrAssIsSaaS
Politicker
+8
SaaS Eater
Getting distracted from their core goal, I've seen our group pivot so many times its crazy only to land back on what we were initially trying to accomplish. Understand what you are good at and go deep. Dont try to be good at everything yet.ย 
AnchorPoint
Politicker
+8
Business Coach
Thinking it will be easy and not giving enough planning or support to it.ย 
Swarthymovie
Arsonist
+7
SDR
Not having a plan and just going in blindย 
TheDarkKnight
Politicker
+4
Falconry Enthusiast
Throwing people at their problems instead of bettering their internal process.
LordBusiness
Politicker
+8
Chief Revenue Officer
Hiring โ€œexperienceโ€ or someone with โ€œa proven track recordโ€. You wanna do amazing shit in a high growth startup, hire the person who has a chip on their shoulder. The director of sales who knows they have what it takes to be a VP, who will walk over coals to prove it. Most โ€œexperiencedโ€ folks have lost the edge and cost way too much
NorthernSalesGuru
Politicker
+5
Account Executive
They fail to build the appropriate processes and structures to enable rapid growthย 
cw95
Politicker
+6
Pricing Executive
Another reason - going for the big boys in your target market without a properly working, fully functional enterprise solution to the need. They see it as a rubbish offering and donโ€™t come back.
TheDuchess
Opinionated
+1
Sales Enablement Queen
Trying to hire graduate sales reps/create a grad sales scheme before they have an established & scalable sales team in place to generate consistent pipeline/revenue.
ventox35
Opinionated
+3
Director of Business Development
Not investing in marketing support. If your name is not out there, you didn't make the effort to spread the word, then the salesperson is the only source of marketing.ย 
Also, your value propositions need to be extremely clear and solve a real problem. As you grow and learn more, you can tweak and modify these value propositions to carve your own niche once you determine what the market needs.ย 
Don't be greedy or stubborn when it comes to constantly evaluating your value proposition and modifying based off what the market asks.ย 
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