Bad Execution or Bad Assumptions ?

You have a plan, you execu­te but the results (such as sales) are not the­re. What’s the problem? Bad sales­guy, so fire him and hire a new one ins­tead? Or could the problem be a more fun­da­men­tal one: is your plan wrong, or more preci­se­ly, the assump­tions your plan is based on are wrong?

Result = plan x execu­tion. It’s not always obvious which one is wrong. Both could be. But for star­tups struggling with sales, the big­gest issue is typical­ly not about sales execu­tion (it might be subop­ti­mal, but not the root cause). It is like­ly to be a product/market fit issue. Or even more fun­da­men­tal, problem/solution fit issue. If the­re is no real oppor­tu­ni­ty, not even the best sales­guy can get a deal.

In most cases, rat­her than rota­te through a num­ber of sales­per­sons, you should go back to your basic assump­tions about the mar­ket, cus­to­mers, their needs and expec­ted beha­viour. You pro­bably have mis­sed somet­hing. Learn from your expe­ri­ments, adjust and then try again.

Doing it in big scale or scaling ?

Sca­ling is a star­tup mant­ra and obses­sion. Financiers and inves­tors - public and pri­va­te ali­ke - push star­tups to sca­le.

New­born star­tups talk about sca­ling and mea­su­re them­sel­ves on sca­le sta­ge quan­ti­ta­ti­ve met­rics, like growth, MRR etc.

But doing things in a big sca­le is not sca­ling. Trying to force busi­ness by spen­ding money, hiring more sales­people and inc­rea­sing num­ber both inbound and out­bound actions is not sca­ling.

Sca­ling means clo­ning a concept that has been pro­ven to work, both tech­nical­ly and com­mercial­ly, in volu­me.

If your com­pa­ny does not have a concept that can be clo­ned, igno­re this at your peril.