With the speed of innovation permeating today’s tech world, fast growth is inherent –even easy– for technology companies. But while rapid growth may seem like an indicator of success, it must also be controlled and strategic to be successful in the long-term.
While being a tech entrepreneur requires a certain amount of fluidity, the “we’ll figure it out as we go” attitude just won’t cut it.
Too many executives focus on top-line revenue growth to the detriment of building a profitable business in addition to (net profit, EBITDA, or gross margin contribution in some cases).
Before we move on to our top 10 best sales practices for sustainable growth, I’d like you to be sure you have the following three things prepared:
- A three-year business plan that is maintained and updated every year
- A go-to-market plan including sales coverage, channel coverage (if using indirect sales or leveraging third party sales organizations) and territory coverage for optimal ROI in sales activities
- Momentum for the offering you’re bringing to market
If you don’t have these in place, start there first. Once you do, move on to the following:
- Zone in on and really define your unique customer proposition and promise. In a competitive market, what makes your product or service distinctive?
- Create effective sales messaging and train your salesforce to use it. Your prospects don’t want to hear about your product’s amazing features, they want to know how it will benefit them. (Refer to my past blog for more information on benefits-focused selling.)
- Identify, refine and codify your prospect engagement roadmap, aka your pipeline grading system or forecasting engine, with stages and milestones. This roadmap must mirror and align itself to your prospect’s buying cycle, not to a self-indulging, internal operational efficiency model that alienates your buyers.
- Review, grade, and ensure you have a strong salesforce that can drive fast growth. Do your salespeople truly understand what makes a great lead? (More on that here.) Are you allowing your best salespeople the time to sell?
- Review and update your compensation plans to ensure that the behaviors necessary for high growth are supported. Are you rewarding top producers, offering fun incentives and seeking feedback from your team? Beware of the unintended consequences of poor compensation plans or the possible perverse effects they can create.
Next week we’ll discuss the remaining five best sales practices for scalable growth in the tech industry. In the meantime, are you a tech entrepreneur who’s experienced rapid growth? What has the experience taught you?