Today’s episode is The Strategy vs. Sales Conundrum. By that, I mean that we are going to focus on one of the most difficult problems startups face, sales. By that, I do not mean just closing deals. What I mean is the tension between a company’s stated strategy and closing the right customers at the right time. That is the crux of the problem. This episode is a quick-over of the problem and its solutions.
Only customers buy. That may seem like a tautology, but it is a very pithy rule of selling. A market never buys anything. Closing a sale to a real customer is the “final mandatory step” in connecting any strategy with business development efforts and sales results.
But, for most companies, the de facto strategy is the resulting total of the deals that are closed. The problem, which I have seen in both startups and medium-sized companies, is that few firms clearly define their customer selection criteria. In the case of early-stage startups, even the founders themselves can often find it difficult to stay focused on customers who best fit the strategy amid the struggle to bring in early customers and sales revenue. Medium-sized companies are no different. In fact, this is a perennial problem.