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How founders can engage better with their sales teams

A Founder who wants to get involved can be an asset to any sales team. The CEO of Peak explains how.

 

Last month we staged our 4th Sales Confidence live event at the Salesforce Tower in London. 100 SaaS devotees gathered to hear 4 of London’s most knowledgeable founders and sales leaders share their secrets. If you couldn’t make it, we’re producing a series of articles covering all the talks, so you can still share in the knowledge.

 

Richard Potter

Our second talk came from Richard Potter, CEO of Peak. Peak help companies become data and AI-driven. They’ve been very successful at it too, growing annual revenues to £1.5 million per year in just 17 months.

Richard talked at length about how they built the sales team at Peak. You can read about it here. Richard then told us about they use their founders and executive team to help close more deals.

‘You need to realise the power of your founders in your sales process. The founders are the best salespeople in the company. Don’t think, if you’re a Founder, ‘I’ve got a sales team. Now I can sit back and count the money.’ That’s not going to happen.’

Richard told us about 2 ways founders can help.

 

Go to meetings

The first thing that founders can do to help is go along to meetings with their sales team. In fact, it’s pretty much a requirement.

‘In the enterprise space, you’re doing deals worth £150,000 a year. The organisations you are selling to are probably going to want to meet the people in charge of the company.’

It shouldn’t be simply a shake hands, smile and leave job though. Founders can bring benefit to a sales meeting. We’ll talk about that later.

 

Show your team the way

Richard told us how, at Peak, the founders show sales the team the best way to sell the product on a day-to-day level.

‘We want the sales team to hear how the founders talk about the company. We get the sales team to listen in to the founders making sales calls. It helps them learn the narrative, the story from the start.’

 

Why?

Some founders may believe they hired a sales team for a reason, and they should be left to get on with their jobs. Others may believe they’re too busy to get involved in this way. However, as we all know, sales is the lifeblood of a company. It’s got to be a worthwhile exercise, for so many reasons.

  • Celebrity – As Richard alluded to, the presence of a Founder can bring a pinch of stardust to any sales meeting
  • Enthusiasm – Few people in a company will be as enthusiastic about their product as the Founder, that enthusiasm is bound to rub off on a prospect
  • Story – Storytelling is a super effective way to sell. Who can tell a better story, of the pain the product relieves, of the history of the product, than the Founder?
  • Respect – It shows ultimate respect for the prospect if the Founder of the company is willing to come along and meet them. It shows you value their business

 

Other ways founders can help

As well as the ways Richard showed us, founders can do other things to help smooth the sales process.

  • Lead gen – Founders usually move in different circles than their salespeople. They hang out with other founders, with VCs, with industry specialists. These connections are all opportunities to generate leads. Founders should always have an eye out for how their product can solve someone else’s problem.
  • Engage with your customers’ founders – The involvement of the Founder can help cement long-lasting relationships between your company and your customer’s. Once the deal is done, reach out to your customer’s Founder with a personal message of thanks. Offer to be there to help at any time. It’s a personal touch that can’t be topped.

When you’re a Founder and you’ve just started a business, you have to do everything. It’s tempting to think, when you’ve hired a sales team, that’s it’s the end of you doing sales. If you want to do things properly, it’s actually just the beginning.

Over to you now. If you’re in sales, what ways do your founders get involved in your sales process? If you’re a Founder, do you like to get out there and sell sell sell? Let the SC community know in the comments below.

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