So many of the software giants we know today got their start as a couple of techies toiling away over circuit boards in a garage. Sales started slowly in those days, and only picked up as the founders got the word out about their products and services with genuine passion. When you see these industry leaders now, with massive sales teams and myriad retail locations, it can be hard to imagine the CEO making cold calls during the company’s humble beginnings. You might wonder how such an IT organization was able to achieve such impressive success without a dedicated sales team.
If you’re launching or growing an IT startup, you may face a similar challenge if you don’t have a specialized sales team at your disposal. However, have you ever taken the time to sketch out the characteristics, skills, and traits that would compose the “best” salesperson possible for your company? Without knowing the specifics of your goals, I’d feel safe guessing that the list would look a lot like this:
- They know the core beliefs and values of the company.
- They understand what the company is good at and what it’s not good at.
- They have a clear view of the company’s long-term goals.
- They’re involved in meeting the day-to-day challenges faced by the company.
- They’re passionate about the organization’s offerings.
- They truly believe these offerings are an asset to the customer and value them accordingly.
Wow, a person like that would crush every sales-quota put in front of them! I’ve seen it happen. Combining product and service knowledge, industry expertise, and enthusiasm with an understanding of why the organization exists and where it’s headed is a recipe for sales success.
Believe it or not, I already know who this person is in your organization. Stand up, find a mirror, and take a look in it. Say “hello” to the Best Salesperson Your Company Will Ever Have. It’s you.
Most small to medium sized information technology companies are founded by people that have a technical background. It is exceedingly rare to find an IT company founded and led by someone with a marketing or accounting background, for example. To do so would mean immediately finding (and paying for) technological experts, and this is a model that doesn’t work for new businesses.
Instead, most IT businesses are founded by people with technical skills that would like to start their own business or do consulting. They begin with a client or two that they gained almost by accident, and they figure that once things pick up a little, they will hire a salesperson to come in and help grow their business. And why not? Just as a seasoned salesperson is unlikely to understand TCP/IP or network topology like you or I do, a network engineer is likely to think that cold-calling, sales-funnels, and contract negotiation should be the domain of a professional salesperson.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
Challenging you, a technical founder of an IT services company, to sell mattresses or carpet cleaning services would be silly. But selling the very services that you are expert in? It’s the perfect fit. Entrepreneur and author James Altucher writes that “the founder is the Head of Sales until the company reaches $10,000,000 in revenues.” That may seem extreme, but it illustrates the point: hiring in someone to be the lead salesperson and the lead evangelist for your company while you are still small and finding your way is a recipe for disaster, not success. After all:
- Who knows what you do better than you?
- Who is more enthusiastic about your company and service offerings than you are?
- Who understands your goals and the aspirations you have for your business better than you do?
- Who is more firm in their conviction that what you offer is worthwhile than you are?
An ambitious attitude may drive IT execs of small businesses to try to replicate the sales machines of their larger competitors. Unfortunately, doing so simply reduces your organization to “just another vendor” by stripping away the passion and enthusiasm that you – and only you – can present to the client. As a smaller business, the sales process shouldn’t be about pipelines and forecasts and quotas. Having a technical background and branching out into sales should be something you embrace, rather than fear.
If you believe your company’s offerings have value, you should be figuratively shouting from the rooftops to potential customers, “Hey, over here….we can help your business run better, make more money, or save time!” Each person you encounter is a potential client, not because you are a salesperson, but because what you have to offer matters. Each opportunity to speak to a potential customer isn’t an opportunity to sell something, but an opportunity to help improve their business, because your business offering is so valuable.
In your growing business, your sales department doesn’t need a new leader, because it already has one – it’s you! For more information about Mosaic NetworX IT solutions, please visit our website today!