Sales & Marketing Hacks for Entrepreneurs | Webinar

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So you’re an entrepreneur. And while you may not have envisioned yourself as a sales person, you’ll need to master sales & marketing to maximize your company’s potential.

In this webinar you’ll learn to hack sales & marketing by turning traditional methods upside down to drive accelerated growth during key early and formative go-to-market stages.

Highlights of this webinar include:

– Determining whether you’re a sales-first, or a marketing-first company
– Structuring your sales & marketing teams
– Acquiring your first customers
– Understanding and driving the buyer journey

If you like Lean Start Up for building product — you’ll love Sales & Marketing Hacks for Entrepreneurs.

This webinar is produced by Max Mead and Justin Nychay, co-founders of Acceleration Labs, and special guest Larry Gamache, founder of Blue Pen Partners.


Knowing Your Market When Going to Market

Originally posted on the Outreach Blog: Mastering Market Stage to Ensure Sales Development Success

As with Most Things in Life, with Sales Development, Timing Is Everything.

A lot has been written about when a company should launch a Sales Development function. Whereas it used to be standard that a B2B marketer would launch Inside Sales after your Vice President and Account Executive team were in place, it’s increasingly common to launch Sales Development at an earlier stage to help the founders test, refine, and scale their sales model from the ground up.

In addition to considering the B2B marketer’s company stage and maturity, what about the stage and maturity of the market that the company operates in? To ensure success, you’ll want to shape your Sales Development strategy, goals and even metrics to be contextual within the market stage you operate.

Let me elaborate — here are the key market stages:

Innovator / First Mover

In this stage, there is no market for your products yet. As such, the function of sales and marketing is creating a vision for a new way of doing things, bringing disruption to a process with something that currently doesn’t exist within the ecosystem or organization. This was what we did with our alma mater TubeMogul in the early days — we built intrigue and aspiration for transforming a broken media buying process, created a vision for how much better the process could be, and developed an entirely new market. If you’re in this stage, you’ll find early adopter clients, but expect long sales cycles to educate and build awareness with more reluctant slow movers — accounts that have champions will need your help educating other influencers in their organizations. You’ll need to build an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) without reliance on historical data, and it won’t be surprising that your earliest customers will be those with corporate cultures that encourage innovation and risk taking and take particular pride in their market leadership.

Key Characteristics of Sales Development Approach

Education, inspiration, and vision; content resources such as ROI calculators and activation frameworks to enable your champion. It’s a great use case for Account-Based Marketing, with awareness campaigns, events, customer referrals potentially accelerating success within target, first-mover accounts.

Early Adoption / Early Majority

The market has been created, but most of your addressable market hasn’t adopted a solution. There’s already excitement, curiosity, and intrigue about the type of product or service your company provides. This is the lowest hanging fruit for a company; in this market stage, Sales Development’s role is sniffing out interest and establishing credibility that you’re a winner. You’re not aspiring to change people’s minds, but finding people already in the market or eager to learn and talk. This is a great market to be in and the goal should be casting as broad a net as possible to capture and capitalize on latent interest or accounts already in-market.

Key Characteristics of Sales Development Approach

Conveying why you’re best in the category; shorter sequences that allow higher volume outreach and ability to identify champions and influencers; and credibility through relevant case studies. Outreach can be largely email and call-based, and metrics should be more focused on shorter-term measures of success than other market stages.

Late Majority / Saturation

Most participants in the addressable market have a solution and are less interested in evaluating new solutions. Needless to say, this is the most challenging market stage, and even if you have a differentiated product, you’ll be dealing with entrenched solutions, so buckle up as you’ll need to change hearts and minds. Sellers may have success looking for needs that are unfulfilled in attempts to establish a foothold for broader conversations within the target company; KPIs and timeframes should adjust, and the market feedback gained from Sales Development, often disregarded, should be considered an especially important component of success, e.g. “Come back in 6 months,” “I’ve got a solution already,” “Not interested at the moment but will let you know if needs change,” etc. Developing and mining this info for deeper meaning and nurturing the accounts who give you those insights may be critical for the company finding an entry point.

Key Characteristics of Sales Development Approach

Philosophy and goals should be building goodwill, bracing for the long-term and staying top-of-mind. Consider lengthening your cadences and extending time frames between touches to look more like drip campaigns, especially if coupled with targeted, personalized connections with key decision-makers (direct mail can be effective). Content should be thought leadership-oriented; metrics should recognize interactions and feedback as success and future entry points. Thoughtful account planning and collaboration between Sales Development, AEs and Execs can be impactful.

The strategy for this stage has similarities with the First Mover stage, but with more focus on how your company can uniquely solve a prospect’s problems, rather than building a vision for a new way of doing things. Partnership programs that allow you to leverage existing components of your prospect’s tech stack may work especially well in prospecting and messaging.

Pro-tip: Technographics

Something to consider is Technographic profiling. It allows you to apply these market stage concepts at a company target level as well, as each company will be at its own stage of adoption within the overall market stages. Technographics let you see the “maturity” of a company based on the type of solutions they purchase and use. For example, you might treat a slow-adopting company like a “media minded” prospect differently than the more sophisticated “programmatic savvy” profile, even once most of the market has evolved. There are now some pretty solid tools that allow this type of profiling for many industry verticals, including PathmaticsDatanyzeBomboraThe Big Willow, and Apptopia for the Adtech/Martech category.

Final thoughts

While resources and use cases will be different for different verticals, the important point is that Sales Development can be a critical part of your go-to-market strategy at many different stages. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy, however, and understanding and incorporating the context of your company’s environment into your strategy will be key to success.

I’m sure there are other effective ways of thinking about company and market stages which we’d love to hear. Leave a comment!

8 Steps to AdTech Sales Success in 2018

This article, written by Max Mead, originally appeared in MarTech Advisor. You can download the infographic here.

Most AdTech companies continued their search for meaning in 2017—looking for crumbs missed by Google, Amazon and Facebook – or how to work synergistically with or on top of those platforms. There surely were some hot categories this year, including cross-channel attribution starting to take shape; content marketing and related formats gaining traction; influencer marketing becoming a large niche; and the cross-device and personalized user journey – including Programmatic TV and mobile – becoming mainstream.

Behind many of the successful companies in those categories, and others from across the LUMAscapes, were strategies that the rest of us can learn from. Take note as these steps will be key to ensuring organic growth as well as creating attractiveness to future investors or martech acquirers.

Specialize Your Sales Team

Software companies have discovered the power of specializing their sales functions to achieve new levels of growth. AdTech companies aspire to be software, but few have started thinking like software companies, especially when it comes to sales. The guiding philosophy of specialization is that sophisticated sellers, or AEs, should focus on closing rather than prospecting , and should leverage a specialized “sales development” function to find qualified prospects that match their target criteria. Similarly, AEs, or, “closers,” should pass account management and growth to specialized teams with skills, incentives and focus on growing accounts to ensure their own time is spent driving new business.

Develop a SaaS Model

To attract investment or acquisition, AdTech companies need to evolve or supplement their media models with SaaS business models . There are different flavors of AdTech SaaS – including flat fixed pricing and minimum spends—and while transitioning from lucrative media margins is painful, start ripping the band-aid if you have aspirations of raising outside capital.

Build Your Brand-Direct Business

To enable your SaaS model, you’ll need a brand-direct sales strategy, as agencies can’t make commitments on behalf of their clients. This doesn’t mean ignoring agencies—treat them as the important influencers and stakeholders they are. Most agencies are starting to wrap their heads around their new role as a collaborator rather than the gatekeeper of technology , and marketers are overwhelmingly embracing their own role in building their tech stacks.

Clean & Build Your Own Sales Tech Stack

As passionate as most AdTech vendors are about their prospects’ technology choices, many don’t apply the same concern for their own sales or marketing tech stacks. As with AdTech, a few great components that work well together outflanks a junkyard of unwieldy products. There are some critical elements including sales automation, marketing automation, CRM and a couple of key data sources that you won’t want to skimp on or dismiss—B2B attribution may make the list next year as it matures. CRM governance and hygiene are increasingly critical for garnering insights over long sales cycles and with increased cross-functional account involvement from specialization.

Know, and Segment Your Customers

As AdTech markets mature and become increasingly competitive, knowing your Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP) and how to speak with each becomes critical. As previously mentioned, mining your now-clean CRM and well-tracked sales activities to understand what works with which targets is powerful for finding these answers. Technographic datasets like Pathmatics and Bombora can help you find more of those targets and inform your messaging to give you an edge. Identify those accounts who are truly the best fit for your company, not just the same top 50 accounts that everyone in our sector targets due to their size.

Define Your Sales Process

Moving from an agency to an enterprise sales model is a big shift—you’ll need to evaluate if you have the right people , and if they have the chops to adapt to a new mode of selling. Even experienced enterprise sellers are most successful when they have a roadmap that reflects well-defined selling stages, each with proof points that allow them to advance to the next steps in the process. As important as defining these stages is consistently adhering to them – from top down.

Own Your Niche

By this, I don’t mean succeed in a small market, but rather have a clean and compelling story, with lots of examples, proof points and testimonials about the problems you solve for companies resembling your prospects. Inherent in nailing your niche is having abundant clarity about your ecosystem positioning – how do you reconcile, work with, or differentiate from the walled gardens and clouds, for example. Using these artifacts to educate, and getting feedback from your prospects along the way, are important aspects of the defined sales process discussed above.

Consider a Channel / Partnership Program

Channel programs can be hit or miss, usually dependent on organizational commitment to making them work , which is why I’m less prescriptive on this one. If you’re a business that can benefit from ecosystem credibility or important integrations, a partnership program could be a third important leg of your sales strategy (in addition to direct new account and existing account growth initiatives). They take more investment than you’d like to think in order to be successful, so be self-aware and deliberate about your strategy here.

B2B sales is getting more sophisticated in general, and AdTech is no exception  as buyers are becoming savvier and doing their own research before even speaking with a seller. Investing in these tools and mechanics will help your teams spend their time in the right places, and win more in 2018 and for years to come.