9 out of 10 Entrepreneurs Have a Sales Challenge

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One of the things I enjoy doing is talking to entrepreneurs about their business. I’ve talked to hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years and 30+ entrepreneurs just last month. My conclusion recently is that nine out of 10 entrepreneurs have a sales challenge. By sales challenge I mean that increasing sales is their number one goal, focus, and priority. Unfortunately, for many of them, they aren’t making the desired progress.

Here are the recurring themes I see:

  • Not enough time to devote to sales, but they are the only person selling
  • Don’t like to sell and the recently hired sales rep isn’t working out
  • Trying to sell over the web (e.g. self-service) with no luck
  • Wanting recurring revenue but still doing one-off projects
  • Performing sales-like activities with co-founders but deals aren’t materializing

Now, I don’t have a silver bullet solution to these challenges. My recommendation for entrepreneurs is to think through customer acquisition as one of the most core aspects of their business and realize it is going to be the hardest.

5 thoughts on “9 out of 10 Entrepreneurs Have a Sales Challenge

  1. I see so many businesses scrape and claw to acquire new customers out of thin air using all the flavors of marketing, except probably the cheapest and most effective; going back to your current and past client base to recommendations and referrals.

    I have people come to me wanting to spend all this money on adwords, email, social, etc. and they don’t (won’t) mine a reference letter from their 5 best clients.

    Which reminds me, have your marketing folks call me I can give ya’ll a glowing recommendations!

  2. David – have you started tracking the type of compensation entrepreneurs are receiving with respect to sales performance? For example, how much of their own compensation is based on a % of sales? I’m curious to get your thoughts on how compensation has or has not impacted sales performance for start-up founders.

    • I don’t have much in the way of specifics but my understanding is that entrepreneurs are paying themselves significantly lower than their market value and as a % of sales it is tiny.

  3. ABC, AIDA, Coffee is for Closers.. Watch this every morning and you will get it. Sales is a tough job but arguably the mist important to early stage companies, especially to minimize required outside investors. Customers are the best ones to fund your business. Do what you have to do and evolve to respond to market opportunity. It is survival of the fittest! A must watch!

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