Once a month at the Bowery office we host what is called a Spark Session, these sessions allow entrepreneurs and fellow VCs to hear from distinguished leaders focused on the enterprise software world. The discussions are meant to be educational, yet informal and generally focus around revenue initiatives such as sales, business development, and customer growth. This Wednesday, we had Brian Reynolds, Regional Sales Director of GoodData, join us for our monthly Bowery Spark Session. Brian recently launched GoodData’s Sales team here in NYC and offered a few pointers on how to start, build and manage great sales teams here in the Big Apple. Below are a few key points of Brian’s wisdom for those unable to join.
Know Your Market
Transplanting sales teams from Boston or San Francisco into New York isn’t easy. The people, culture and client base are inexplicably different and sales team need to adapt and evolve to find their product-market fit for the client. Sometimes, this means finding new customer bases. If you’re selling a cloud-based service here in New York, chances are the financial community is going to be a tough sell given the security concerns. Instead of focusing there, focus on where the local value proposition is strongest and use that as the base for your sales organization.
Location, Location, Location
It’s great to have a core team in key geographies like NYC and Silicon Valley, but sales leaders shouldn’t shy away from having teams in less traditional sales outposts either. Being in non-core geographies can give an edge on cost, but also longevity, as sales reps are less likely to use your company as a resume builder before jumping to another “hot” company six months later. Ultimately, this can enable better and more cost-effective results.
Spray-and-Pray to Lay a Foundation
At some point, your startup needs to extend beyond solely prospecting and nascent sales teams shouldn’t be afraid of using mass email and/or Salesforce to generate leads. Conversion may be low, but these methods can help create brand cognizance that will lead to sales further down the line. These tactics should be supplemented with industry events and outbound marketing, to help get your name out into the market and better enable your sales outpost to scale within the geography.
The Da Vinci Code
Sometimes the best sales reps are those that don’t have any prior sales experience, but rather are hardworking, entrepreneurial minded folks who have great instinct – otherwise known as ‘Renaissance Reps’. These individuals generally aren’t afraid to shake it up a bit and are comfortable with the ambiguity of being part of a new sales function in an early-stage company. Look for the folks who can walk away from deals that they know won’t close and prefer the company’s success (i.e. equity) overcompensation to find those that will be most successful.