In this Mucker Growth Session, Luke Welch, owner of Luke Welch GTM Consulting and former VP of Global Marketing Solution Sales at Salesforce, focuses on the challenges and best practices for managing complex B2B sales motions when your sales are founder-led.

 

Mutual Action Plan 

Understanding the Sales Landscape

There are inherent challenges in sales, especially as stakeholders increase and solutions become more comprehensive. For many founders without a sales background, the sales process can seem overwhelming. To simplify this complexity, it's important to understand the sales landscape, particularly for startups in their early stages of development.

Key Challenges for Founders

There are three main challenges founders face in B2B sales:

  1. Spending Too Much Time with the Wrong Customers: It's tempting to dive straight into the pitch, but this can lead to endless demos without a signed contract.
  2. Getting Caught in a Buying Process That Isn't Understood: Understanding whether there is a formal buying process and how to navigate it is crucial.
  3. Struggling to Track Progress and Predict Outcomes: Surprises in the sales cycle often stem from not having a clear understanding of the decision-making process.

Effective Sales Strategies

To address these challenges, try these strategies:

Qualify Early and Thoroughly: Ensure you're spending time with customers who have a genuine need and the authority to make purchasing decisions.

Map Out the Buying Process: Understand the steps your customers need to take to purchase your solution.

Drive Momentum with Clear Steps and Tactics: Use tactics to build and demonstrate customer buy-in, moving them through the sales process efficiently.

The Sales Process

It's important to have a structured sales process, broken down into four key stages:

Qualification: Identifying whether a prospect is worth pursuing.

Discovery: Understanding the prospect's needs and pains.

Validation: Presenting your solution and proving its value.

Closure: Finalizing the deal through negotiations and contract signing.

Qualification

This stage involves determining whether a potential customer is a good fit. It's recommended to use methodologies like BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing) or MEDDIC (Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, Champion) to guide this process. The goal is to ensure you're targeting the right customers from the outset.

Discovery

Once qualified, the discovery stage is about gathering detailed information about the customer’s needs and how your solution can address them. This involves engaging with multiple stakeholders to understand the broader impact of the problem and the organizational readiness to solve it.

Validation

In the validation stage, the focus is on proving the value of your solution. This includes building a tailored executive summary that outlines the ROI, customer stories, and an onboarding plan. This document should be comprehensive, addressing potential objections and demonstrating the overall business impact.

Finalizing and Closing

The final stages involve negotiating terms, addressing any remaining technical validations, and closing the deal. It's important to be proactive in managing this process, including preparing for negotiations and ensuring all necessary approvals are in place.

Navigating Complex Sales

Understanding the buyer’s journey and the roles of different stakeholders in the sales process are critical.  This is where a Mutual Action Plan (MAP), a tool that aligns both the buyer and seller on the steps needed to achieve a successful sale, can be extremely helpful. This collaborative document outlines the steps and milestones needed for both the seller and buyer to achieve a successful sale, including timelines, key actions, and responsibilities. This plan helps ensure that both parties are on the same page and can track progress towards closing the deal.

Engaging Stakeholders

Understanding and engaging the various stakeholders involved in the buying process is critical. Tailor your message to each stakeholder’s specific concerns and needs. For instance, a technical buyer might be more concerned with integration and security, while a business buyer focuses on ROI and strategic impact.

Execution and Tactics

First Call Execution: Emphasized the importance of preparation, including researching the prospect and setting clear objectives for the call.

Economic Buyer: Defined as the individual who can ultimately approve the budget and make the final decision.

Discovery Calls: Multiple stakeholders may need to be involved to gather all necessary information and ensure alignment.

Validation Stage: Developing an executive summary that pulls together all findings, ROI, pricing, and implementation plans to present to decision-makers.

The Role of Proof of Concepts

If you're going to use proof of concepts (POCs) in the sales process, they should have clear success criteria, timelines, and resource requirements. While unpaid POCs can be valuable for demonstrating potential, paid POCs can help ensure commitment from the customer and cover the costs associated with the effort.

Conclusion

While the world of sales can feel complex and overwhelming, using and sticking to a roadmap can help founders navigate that complexity. By focusing on qualification, discovery, validation, and closing, and by using tools like the Mutual Action Plan, founders can streamline their sales processes and increase their chances of success. The key takeaway is to be methodical, proactive, and always centered on delivering value to the customer.  Always qualify leads rigorously to ensure you are spending time with prospects who have the potential to buy. Make sure to create a buyer-centered sales process to align with the buyer's needs and timelines. And track your progress by using objective criteria to measure progress through the sales stages and ensure alignment with the buyer.

 

Thanks to Luke Welch for sharing this information.

********

To receive Mucker’s updates, you can sign up for our newsletter here.

If you are the founder of a seed-stage company interested in learning more about Mucker funding, apply to MuckerLab and/or contact us.

Recommended Posts