Many more startups fail from a lack of sales than from lack of building a product. Flashpoint, the startup accelerator at Georgia Tech, follows best practices like Customer Driven Development, Lean Startup, and the Business Model Canvas. Flashpoint is different from Y Combinator and TechStars in that it focuses on having the teams test hypotheses until there’s a clear winner, and only then does work on a product start.
A key Flashpoint benefit is extensive sales training. The idea of getting 15 research interviews per week is much more difficult than it sounds. In fact, with a decent cold caller, that’s likely 500 calls to get 15 meaningful conversations (cold calling isn’t required but getting 15 meetings per week is the goal).
Here’s how Flashpoint is like sales training:
- Work through whatever means possible to get 15 meetings per week (referrals, walk-ins, cold calls, networking, etc)
- Ask a series of consultative questions to uncover pain and latent demand
- Develop rapport and establish trust with people so that you can reach out to them again with future research questions as well as establish a potential sales relationship in the event they are a good fit for the product or service
- Articulate their needs and desires so that they will sign a letter of intent to buy whatever product or service is eventually built (assuming it meets the requirements)
Sales training is a critical skill to develop on the founding team and Flashpoint provides it through a focus on customer discovery. Startups that go through the Flashpoint program will be significantly more successful, on average, than startups that don’t.
What else? What are your thoughts on the sales training benefit from Flashpoint?