As a founder, you thrive on expertise and passion. In the early stages, this can lead to high conversion rates. Founder-led sales is a must for your first customers. This is how you uncover your first brand advocates and get those coveted first testimonials and case studies. These conversations are also the key to unlocking your unique sales proposition or USP, so your team can better articulate the specific benefit you offer that differentiates you from the competition.
Importantly, that rapid feedback cycle early on helps you zero in on your ideal customer profile. Also called your ideal buyer profile, your ICP is the perfect customer that has the precise need or challenge that your tech product solves for. This doesn’t just include your target verticals and locations, but it zooms in on the specific buyer profiles that drive more successful lead generation, account-based marketing and sales. When done correctly, your ICP helps you clarify the problems you’re solving, while you align your product capabilities and your product roadmap with your ideal customer’s needs.
Finally, founder-led sales is essential for angel and seed investment. They not only need to know that you are connected to your burgeoning customer base and your product, but they need to know that you can lead by example. That you can build long-term customer relationships. And convince people of the value of you, your company, and your product.
This kind of “heavy lifting” works great to gain initial traction when there is little brand recognition or market presence. But, soon, a different set of business challenges emerge.
Founder-led sales is just not enough when you’re ready to expand past your network, and especially if you want to reach new markets and verticals. It can feel like a big leap to go from winning those early deals to addressing the broader market and growing your organization. Simply adding bodies to your team and expecting growth doesn’t work. You need the right partners and the right strategy that targets the right buyers within an organization. Only this will allow you to find the greatest number of qualified leads for your product or service.
Expansion past those early adopters at scale only comes from having formal systems and processes in place, so your team can systematically, substantially outperform what you as an individual or founding team could ever have done. It’s time to build systems and holistic team-based processes. To move from an instinct-driven startup to a data-driven scale-up. Which means working to design a cohesive funnel strategy where inbound marketing syncs with lead generation and channel marketing all the way down through your sales pipeline.
This transition involves a new degree of organization around your sales process, defining and documenting what is working well in your home market. It means clearly defining what about your founder-led sales worked for your ICP, and then replicating that in how you structure your new teams. Then, you make sure you’re empowering them with transparency and the tools for success, where everyone can track activities and progress. It’s essential to recognize this early on to be able to scale effectively.
And it’s important to move past your network toward creating a network of networks, building partnerships, particularly in new countries and markets — relying on international teams to deliver on your international strategy.
Are you ready to bring other people into help you achieve sustainable growth?
We’re proud to have helped more than 400 tech companies reach their potential in Europe by scaling out past that founder sales cycle through outsourced sales, lead generation and more. Which is why we’re joining the US team SFE Partners in a live conversation later this month to help you find the right balance of power as you take on new markets and verticals, teammates and partners.
March 29, 2022. 9am New York, 2pm London
We’ll strategize over our experiences with:
The importance of transparent, real-time data based on your ICP in target countries and verticals
...and how to learn to give up some of that control over the whole process!