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June 10, 2024
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How to improve your founder led sales strategy

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Founder led sales has become a crucial part of sales success for nearly every early stage company for B2B sales. Done well, it can be an effective sales strategy and can form the foundation of the sales process of a future sales team. But in practice, it can be hard to do for an early day startup founder who has a lot on their to-do list. Especially in the early days where you're still uncovering pain points and understanding who your target audience are. In this blog post, we've put together some tips to help you improve your founder led sales strategy so you can become a founding sales pro.

Why is founder led sales important?

Even though it might be time consuming to be a sales leader and founder, there are a lot of benefits. Getting involved in sales efforts and having sales conversations is a great way to get strategic insights, build relationships and trust, create direct feedback loops and build a foundation for your future sales team.

As the first person to be selling your product, you'll know what and how your potential customers think first hand. You'll know about all their growing pain points, features they want and budgets they have. This will have a great impact on your product development, customer success and sales materials. You'll also have inside knowledge that can help clarify your buyer personas and prioritize the right feature updates in your product roadmap. This will also be a chance for you to validate your assumptions about your customers and learn directly from them. Which will help you refine your product.

Pete Kazanjy, the author of Founding Sales: The Early Stage Go-to-Market Handbook suggests that modern sales has a stronger focus on the human connection and solving problems for customers. In Lenny's podcast, he explains that the founder-led sales process is important because it is measurable in a modern environment with modern CRMs and also all the digital activity that we do, email, calendar, phone, Zoom. Which is why even though he doesn't have a background in sales, he was able to navigate it as a Founder getting his first customers at his SaaS startup, Atrium.

As for his take on why it's important to be selling as a founder, he suggests that: One, it's going to help you with your product development because you're not going to have that abstracted, for sure, two, you're going to be the person who's going to figure out how to talk about it in an effective way, and then three, it's going to make it such that you can package that up such that other human... Because that's the way that B2B startups scale, is it's not WhatsApp or Twitter or Airbnb or whatever, where you have this scalability via marketing, the way that B2B organizations scale primarily is by adding more salespeople who then have customer-facing meetings with prospects.

4 ways to improve your founder led sales strategy

Looking for ways to level up your strategy? We've got a few tips to help you meet your sales targets, increase lead generation and get repeat customer satisfaction. They're all key components of a good long term growth strategy that both technical founders and non-technical founders can use in their social channels, with more of a focus on LinkedIn.

1. Focus on storytelling

One of the hardest things about posting content and writing your own captions is creating your own tone of voice when you're first starting out.

If you're stuck, the best thing to do is to:

  • Type in a conversational tone,
  • Avoid a long post, make sure your post is skimmable.
  • Make sure the main takeaways you want your audience to get from it are clear.

Try topics such as building in public, sharing lessons you've learnt as a Founder, wins of the day, new sales tactics you're trying and experience of it so far.

2. Build strong relationships

A huge part of a founder-led sales strategy is to do with building strong customer relationships and rapport with other professionals in your industry. Attend industry events, join relevant groups, and engage in community discussions. This is crucial for founder sales because it helps you generate leads and establishes your presence in the industry.  

Your customer feedback loop should also be part of any initial sales process. This feedback is invaluable for refining your product and understanding what's working and what isn't. It can also help you refine your ideal customer profile. It's common in the early stages for startup founders who are active in their sales narrative to pivot away from an initial ICP after gaining more product knowledge from potential clients.

3. Leverage technology

If you're still trying to capture everyone's contact information manually, and getting frustrated by the amount of time it eats up. It's time to get a customer relationship management platform (CRM). A CRM will help you automate this process, and can help you implement a structured sales process. Which is hugely beneficial when you're ready to scale and hire new team members such as a sales leaders and  a sales rep. folk happens to also have a free Chrome extension that can automate the process of capturing the contact information from your LinkedIn engagement.

folk can help you turn this
into this, directly into your CRM without you having to manually put all that data into a spreadsheet

4. Create templates for follow up emails

When you have to switch context regularly, it can be distracting to move from a sales call to ticking off that follow-up message you've been meaning to send. Alex Kracov, the Founder of Dock realised that he was sending the same type of message repeatedly. To streamline his workflow, he setup a few templates for different parts of his sales process.

Here's a glimpse of what his template library looked like:

  • Inbound Demo Request: An email he sent when someone requested a demo on the website. The goal of this email was to schedule a demo call.
  • Demo Follow up V1: An email for folks who wanted to move forward with Dock. The email includes action items about the pilot program, setting up a template, and next steps for onboarding.
  • Demo Follow up V2: An email for folks who were still deciding whether they wanted to move forward with Dock. This email included action items, but had softer language around the timeline (“whenever you’re ready” language). 
  • Demo Follow up V3: An email for folks who were not really interested. The email thanked them for their time and said we’ll stay in touch as the product evolves. 

folk happens to have a Chrome extension called folk X that lets you build a template library that you can access from anywhere including LinkedIn and Gmail.

Conclusion

In 2024, the business landscape continues to evolve, and so must your sales strategies. By adapting to market trends, leveraging feedback loops, and streamlining your workflow process, you can achieve sustainable growth and find product market fit. Both of which are crucial for early stage startups to survive. folk's CRM platform allows you to use it as a solopreneur and can scale with you when you're ready to hire. Try folk today, free.

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