New Product Categories Require Salespeople

While it’s awesome to read about companies like Atlassian getting to $100 million in revenue with no salespeople, the reality is that almost all B2B tech startups require salespeople. Why is that? Well, 9 out of 10 times it’s a new product category and new product categories, by their very definition, don’t have an existing base of buyers that are actively seeking out a solution. While the potential buyers might have a problem or opportunity, if they don’t know what the product or category is called, or the latent demand hasn’t been magnified, they won’t go shopping for a system (it’s the same reason inbound marketing doesn’t work for new markets). Salespeople are needed to take new buyers through the purchasing process.

Here are a few thoughts on new product categories requiring salespeople:

  • Uncovering or exposing a potential buyer’s latent pain takes time and effort, requiring a salesperson to be pleasantly persistent
  • Even if a qualified prospect expresses interest, they have a number of existing priorities and obligations, necessitating a salesperson to help keep the proposed solution top-of-mind
  • When a new product requires change management salespeople help build the support and get buy-in from the necessary stakeholders to take action (no small feat for more complicated systems)

New product categories, like Pardot with marketing automation almost 10 years ago, are challenging and exciting at the same time. Assuming the market timing is right (the most important consideration), new product categories are the most fun, and require the help of great salespeople.

What else? What are some more thoughts on the idea that new product categories require salespeople?

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