May 13, 2024
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Founder-led sales: the tool stack

Discover folk - the CRM for people-powered businesses

I know first-hand how brutal founder-led sales can be. On top of everything else on your list of priorities, you need to clear time in your calendar to meet prospects and face the reality of the market. which has taken a toll on the average sales experience.

But it can be highly rewarding. Getting involved as a Founder can be a goldmine of learning, lessons you can share with your team, first-hand customer insights, aha moments about what to build next, and a clear signal about how to nail your sales story. In this blog post, I've put together some Founder-led sales tools that have been tried and tested by my team and I here at folk.

What is founder-led sales?

As an early stage startup founder, you are in a good position to build a strong user community. Adopting founder-led business strategies where an early stage startup Founder directly engages in the sales process can help you and your sales team achieve this.

We've got a blog on Founder-led sales tactics here that goes into more detail about figuring out your direct sales process, target market, pain point and customer acquisition strategy.

Examples of some founder led sales tactics

A founder led sales strategy involves a mix of understanding social based sales efforts and context based selling.

Examples of social based selling includes:

  • Building a personal brand: This involves building a strong presence on social media platforms where your clients are likely to hang out, like LinkedIn for B2B sales
  • Getting constructive customer feedback: Whether positive or negative, constructive feedback can be helpful for both sales teams and marketing teams to prioritize the right feature updates on the product roadmap and gain a better understanding of the customer lifecycle.
  • Fixing common sales objectives:  This involves finding a solution to fix common sales objectives you come across. This might be your product-market fit and/or value proposition.
  • Sales tech stack: The best sales teams have access to the right tools that help them go through the motion of a sales cycle collaboratively. An example could be using folk as your CRM.

Examples of context based selling includes:

  • Personalizing every touchpoint in your outreach: Even though it can be tempting to save time and send emails without personalizing them, it can be a harmful strategy in the long run.
  • Reaching out after a contact reacts to a LinkedIn post: It's easy to build rapport with your audience. If you notice that someone often engages with your post, use this as an opportunity to reach out to them and thank them to start a conversation.
  • Leveraging new company news, job openings or press: This involves reaching out to a lead's company if they have a new job opening, or press announcement and leveraging this knowledge to start a conversation.

Interested to learn more about a social based and context based sales motion? We've got more on social based selling here, and more on context based selling here.

The sales tech stack every founder needs

After testing, failing and iterating below are the six categories I think every founder involved in sales needs to equip. Whether you're a B2B startup or B2C business, these tools will help you and any sales hire when you're ready to grow your team.

1. An easy to use CRM to stay organized and focused

Your sales tech stack needs to be ready and able to help you optimize the effort you're putting in building your sales pipeline. Even when you decide to pivot. That means that the customer relationship management tool (CRM) you choose will play a huge role in the sales tech stack you build, so it needs to be flexible and customizable to suit your needs.

folk happens to fit the bill here. It's lightweight and highly customizable thanks to its ability to support multiple business functions and is packed with powerful features such as marketing automation and sales friendly pipeline management. You can use it for sales, marketing, customer success teams, recruitment, fundraising and more.

folk CRM

folk is extremely versatile as a CRM. You can use folk to help with sourcing, enrichment, pipeline management, and note taking during calls so that you and your team can build a single source of truth. When you're doing founder sales, having everything you need in one platform can be a huge time saver and can help you and your sales rep level up your sales engagement.

2. Data enrichment that finds contact information for you—huge time saver

In the early stages of your initial sales process, getting enough data before you jump on a call – especially if it's with someone who is your ideal customer profile can be key to making sure they are the right buyer persona to increase your chances of closing deals. A data enrichment feature, also known as a contact enrichment, can help level up the existing data you have on someone including finding links to their social media profile and fill in any missing information such as an email address.

In case you haven't guessed yet, we made sure to power up with the folks at Apollo.io, Dropcontact and Clearbit to create folk's 1-click enrichment feature to help you build strong relationships with your potential customers.

folk's contact enrichment feature

3. Scheduling tool to easily book demos

Anyone can easily get fed up with the multiple back and forth emails it takes to book a meeting or those sales calls. That's especially the case whether you're a customer or busy Founder. Using tools such as Calendly or Cal.com are a great way to avoid the hassle. It's easy to keep the times you are available up to date, and they both have a generous free forever version.

Calendly
Cal.com

4. Conversation intelligence tools that help you extract sharable insights for the whole team

Wondering how well your sales call is going? Tools such as Grain or Gong are popular investments in B2B SaaS because of the detail it shares on how you can improve your call. They can also automate note-taking, record-keeping and more so that you can focus on the customer.

Grain
Grain's user interface
Gong
Gong

5. Lead capture tool to source new leads one-by-one qualitatively like with folk X or in bulk like with Apollo

If you're looking to grow your pipeline and are building one specifically with your target audience in mind, one of the best practices you should take on especially in the early days is the lead capture tool you use. This will help you save time as you gather intel on potential leads. Both folk X and Apollo are great options. Below are the main differences I've found.

Key features of lead capturing with folk X:

  • Free Chrome extension: Called folk X that you can use to import search lists on LinkedIn or new leads individually.
  • Access to message templates: Provides you access to a template library of messages so you can save time reaching out to potential leads.
  • Syncs with folk CRM: Any leads you import are saved directly into folk so that you do not have the hassle of constantly switching context to do so. Saving you a lot of time.
folk X Chrome extension
folk X's search list importing feature
folk X also gives you access to your message template library

Key features of lead capturing with Apollo:

  • Access to B2B contacts: Apollo has a large database of 275 million contacts and 73 million companies.
  • Heavy sales-focused features: Including inbound optimization for your pipeline, scores and signal data, sales engagement and more.
Apollo
Apollo's meetings feature
Apollo
Apollo's sales engage feature

For the ultimate combination, we suggest using both folk and Apollo together. folk X comes free with a basic folk account.

Conclusion

It's tough being an early stage Founder, but your hard work will be rewarded. Making sure that you have the right sales tech stack in place can go a long way to optimizing your time and work flow.

More resources

Looking for more? Below are some blogs all early stage company Founders should check out or share with a team member.