If I were creating a field sales organization for my own company, I'd plan the sales strategy knowing the following:
- The stakes are significantly high. The cost of failure is significant at both ends. To some on your dev team or to your VCs, a sales person's success, could be a litmus test indicator if the company will succeed or not..
- Hire for sales structure, process and NOT just the rolodex: Most reps have good contacts and that's a given. But that's not what will close your sale. Hire your founding sales team to create repetitive sales processes, to shorten sales cycles, create synergies with marketing campaigns, to establish sales models that require minimal involvement from precious dev resources to close.
- Plan for special needs: Outbound field sales teams have different needs so treat them as such. Their needs are certainly unique from what I suspect you have seen on your current team of marketeers, inbound, inside sales team members. Their motivations, apprehensions are very different from sales wannabe co-founders who've never carried a bag.
- They (field sales) are like sharks who can cover ground quickly if you can keep up with them.. but they also get tired and de-motivated as easily. They need a path to quickly and meticulously work through their designated territory. Your first sales hire should ideally have a plan for the processes, the tools and has to have this done before the sharks are hired. They need help with
- Resources (comprehensive sales plays, email templates, elevator pitch, competitive analysis),
- Operational metrics discipline (cold calling, research processes)
- Accountability (cadence call frameworks like SCOTSMAN).
5. Have a pragmatic pricing model: It can't be I'll take what I can get. To get the large 7-figure deals, you'd have to license differently like ELAs, ACVs deals. Even with that, it's important to identify the value based pricing model. At what price do you walk from a deal? I've created many (good and bad) such OPEX heavy models before so I can give you guidance on the same.
6. Double down on the larger sales strategy: To make the above model sticky with newer customers, you'd need at least a couple customers, and a proven execution model before a sales team can succeed on a repeat sales model. Your inside sales pitch, marketing collateral and campaign planning have to all reflect a plan for such deals.
7. Keep the comp plan simple, generous yet aggressive: It's possible to hit a balance here. Nothing motivates sales more than hard $$$ incentives. On the same lines, there's no bigger put-off than a complex plan with inherent gotchas.
I can go on and on but I'll stop now.. If you like this and want to now more.. it's best to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.