Worth the Read: Sales Solutions from Venture Capitalists

Originally Posted on May 2, 2013 on the Force Management blog.

Money Windfall

There are many organizations backed by venture capitalists that are clamoring to be leaders in their respective industry. We’ve worked with many in the high-tech space. Whether it’s articulating value and differentiation, hiring top sales talent or implementing an effective sales process, start-ups have unique challenges.

As the driving force behind these new businesses, venture capitalist firms are looking to create consistency, build on best-practices and drive results for their investments.

I like the way they think.

That’s why I often find myself reading some of their great insight in the blogosphere. Here are some of the most interesting posts I’ve come across recently. They’re too good not to share.

Use their tips. Read my thoughts. Share your own.

They’re worth the read.
1.  7 Tips to Ditch Bad Business Processes

As Mike Myatt points out, “One of the ways successful companies gain a competitive advantage is through creating process advantage.” I completely agree with his focus on mindset as a tip. Mindset is important and can be fully leveraged with a parallel focus on tools, process and content.

I partially disagree with is his “no Band-Aids” tip. While I agree that bubble gum and bailing wire are best used elsewhere, the reality of most fast-paced environments is that occasionally a Band-Aid on a minor boo-boo (comp plans) is a smart plan. The Band-Aid can allow you to focus your efforts on the double-bypass heart surgery (value-based sales methodology).
2.  The VC World Returns to Its Operating Roots

Ben Horowitz comments on the background of VCs today resonated both because we work with so many VC-backed technology firms, and because our clients also feel like they can get great advice from Force Management because we have been down the same paths they have.

My only ‘tweak’ to the comment is that uniformity can be a crutch. If everyone on the team has the exact same background, you can easily miss out on the great insights that come from seeing a problem/solution in one environment and utilizing that same solution for a problem in a whole new area. Our 100-pound brain, Dave Davies, talks about “pattern recognition” as one of the critical skills for great consultants. It can be just as effective for those who are dealing with the growing pains of a new venture.

3.  Through the Looking Glass: Hiring Sales People

Here’s another one from Ben Horowitz. The story about Mark Cranney is priceless … even more so since I have met him in person and can believe it is all true. To take Ben’s conclusion one step further, focus on a whole sales talent management system, like RSA did with us. You might also take a look at Force Management’s Cost of a Bad Hire Calculator to see how big your problem might be.
4.  Is Customer Segmentation the Key to Your B2B Website’s Success?

This post reminded me of how a few Force Management customers have literally recreated their website based on the sales messaging created during their Command of the Message® implementation. MarketSource is one of the more recent.


Tom Martin, Executive Director of Operations

Tom Martin is a 20+ year veteran of the sales methodology and training industry. He has a diverse set of global experience with sales (direct, indirect and inside), channel management, marketing, SFA/CRM, consulting, finance, legal, training, systems and operations. He serves as Force Management’s Executive Director of Operations

Walking your talk, drinking your Kool-Aid®, and making sure the cobblers kids have shoes

Since this blog is intended for owners, employees and contractors of sales training firms I will assume you work with one.  I will also assume that your firm has sales training workshops and consulting designed to help salespeople sell better.

If your product fits the management consulting / professional services market (where sales training firms fall), then there is really no excuse for you and your entire firm to not be using your own methodologies.

That said, I have been astounded, perplexed, and mind-boggled for years that so many sales training salespeople don’t completely use the “stuff” they are selling.

Now I am not saying that if you have a “Whiz Bang Opportunity Planner” (the Whiz Banger) form as part of your Whiz Bang v. 13 Opportunity Management class that your salespeople need to complete one for every sale – you should be just like your clients, Continue reading