How to Grow Your Tech-SaaS Startup Organization Tenfold in 36 Months

Congratulations! You have been promoted to VP of Sales and Marketing for a global organization. The First thing you will always think of is, “Oh my, where do I start with a B2B content marketing strategy?” I recently attended a marketing leadership session, and the Speaker was Lorne Padelford, VP of Global Sales for Shopify.

Below I have listed some of the key advice that she highlighted. These are great points to start building your sales and marketing engine so you can grow tenfold in the next 36 months.

Related: How to Help Your VP of Sales Achieve His or Her Numbers This Year

  1. Stop selling, start helping.

Today, when a customer wants information on your products, a customer reference, or your pricing, they can find it all on the web, all by themselves. For sales teams to be effective, they need to stop selling... and start helping.

They need to help their customers find answers to their problems and help them make the right decisions on what solutions to choose. Research shows that companies that help and educate their customers (not pitch them) make 47% larger purchases.

  1. Build a smart, technological foundation. 

Our reps spend 95% of their day taking one of three actions: 

  1. Making phone calls
  2. Writing and answering emails 
  3. Logging data into the CRM 

All three of these things need to be optimized to ensure no time is wasted, because time is money. It’s critical we leverage technology that helps our team's sales productivity, not hurts it. The biggest change I made to our sales technology when I came to Shopify was to switch from the CRM we were using to the free HubSpot CRM software. The impact has been dramatic. Our reps are no longer manually logging phone calls and emails, they receive in-depth insight into prospects at the click of a button, and they receive instant notifications when prospects open their emails. At 26 reps, switching to the HubSpot CRM has saved us 130 hours and $3,900 per week. 

  1. Sales is a science, not an art. 

Sales is now less about magic and more about science. With the advent of new technology and the availability of data, you can now track and understand what is happening in your sales process. As a result, we can now explain success in sales using cold hard facts, not stories and opinions.

My advice for people new to the science of selling is to start simple. Start tracking metrics like:

  • Average Deal Size
  • Average Sales Cycle Length
  • Lead to Deal Conversion Rate
  • Calls Per Day Per Rep
  • Number of Deals in Pipeline

As you get a handle on the basics you can start looking at more advanced metrics. But these will start to build a picture of how your sales machine operates. 

  1. Stop chasing the mythical sales superstar.

I believe there are six key personality traits of a successful salesperson.  

  1. Intelligence: Not necessarily book smarts (although those are good too), but general intelligence. 
  2. Work ethic: Sales is a 24x7x365 career. If candidates are not ready to roll up their sleeves and do whatever it takes, whenever it needs to be done, then I pass.
  3. History of success: For this one, I don't particularly look for sales success, rather success at any level. For example, varsity or pro athlete, concert pianist, professional artist... you get the picture.
  4. Creative: I need people who can help invent novel solutions for complex problems. 
  5. Entrepreneurial: Sales is like running your own company.
  6. Competitive: Sales is a competition. With yourself, your teammates, and the industry as a whole. I look for people who hate to lose and won't stop until they win. 

Hiring great salespeople is by far the topic people ask me about the most. And here is what I tell them: You don’t hire great salespeople; you hire great people and build them into great salespeople.

5. Get the prospect to say NO, not yes.

In most sales companies there is way too much emphasis on convincing a customer to say "yes" or trying to “close” the deal. As a result these companies actually put their salespeople at a disadvantage... and have made their lives more difficult.

Simply put, the reason some prospects are so hard to “close” (or never close for that matter) is that they should have never been opened in the first place.

When helping reps eliminate unqualified leads, I use "The 4/5 Threshold." That means if a prospect doesn't have a firm answer to four of these five variables, then I consider them unqualified and move on. 

  • Pain – Is there an issue the customer has which is big enough to drive the need to make a change? No pain, no deal.
  • Power – Who makes the call on if they change or not? If you don’t know, good luck getting a deal done.
  • Money – Do they have the budget? Can they get a budget? How? 
  • Process – How do they buy things? Do you understand their entire buying process?
  • Timeline – Just seeing what's out there, without intent? Awesome -- let's talk when you're ready to purchase. 

By having our sales team spend their time on better deal qualification, our sales cycles, and close ratios have drastically improved.

We at Flawless Inbound are helping B2B organizations to change their sales methodology to match what the new buyer wants. Make sure to watch our webinars where we go deeper into some of those processes.

Related: The 7 Rules for Evaluating and Selecting an Inbound Agency Partner