"Renaissance" v's "Coin Operated" sales
21-Nov-2014 Filed in: Enterprise
HBR has a great paper on the “sales learning curve” and the kind of “renaissance” sales required for emerging technology and early markets v’s the more “coin operated” sales of mature products in majority markets — “here’s your sales formula, 20 enterprise accounts and $2 million quota’”.
202’s focus is squarely in the “renaissance” category of sales, marketing and product management, building offerings up to a point that traditional inside and outside reps can be brought in to work an established and constantly updated go-to market formula with success.
When a company launches a new product into a new market, the temptation is to ramp up sales force capacity immediately to gain customers as quickly as possible. But hiring a full sales force too early just causes the firm to burn through cash and fail to meet revenue expectations. Before it can sell an innovative product efficiently, the entire organization needs to learn how customers will acquire and use it, a process the authors call the sales learning curve: The company--marketing, sales, product support, and product development--and its customers transfer knowledge and experience back and forth. As customers adopt the product, the firm modifies both the offering and the processes associated with making and selling it. The more a company learns about the sales process, the more efficient it becomes at selling, and the higher the sales yield. As the sales yield increases, the sales learning process unfolds in three distinct phases--initiation, transition, and execution. Each phase requires a different size--and kind--of sales force and represents a different stage in a company's production, marketing, and sales strategies. Adjusting those strategies as the firm progresses along the sales learning curve allows managers to plan resource allocation more accurately, set appropriate expectations, avoid disastrous cash shortfalls, and reduce both the time and money required to turn a profit.