As an angel investor and in my work as a sales strategist, I’ve encountered various founders, leaders and investors grappling with a common problem: structures that support sustainable, reliable sales growth.
It’s a crucial aspect of investing decisions, and it doesn’t always get the focus it deserves or requires early enough in the due diligence process.
There are three structures every founder or leader will want to develop, and every investor will want to analyze before making an investment decision.
1. Go-to-market strategy — the destination
Go-to-market strategy is the panoramic view encompassing the overarching growth prospects for the organization. It’s not merely about identifying markets but also involves strategically positioning products or services in a way that ensures disruption and growth. Investors, naturally, seek a robust go-to-market strategy that not only promises growth but also delivers a solid return on investment.
Key considerations include the uniqueness of the offerings, the potential for competing and winning in crowded markets and overall scalability. All these elements ultimately influence the time it takes to create significant returns or position the business for an exit.
2. Sales strategy — the path
Drawing from my experiences with clients navigating private equity funding, a common gap emerges — the lack of a comprehensive sales strategy. There is no shortage of sales activities available, and it’s determining which are the right ones for your organization.
Go-to-market strategy sets the big picture, and sales strategy creates the path. It delineates sales goals, growth and profitability by segment, lead generation options and key sales activities. It’s a roadmap detailing the activities an organization will undertake to bolster sales growth, connected to the broader go-to-market strategy.
The synergy between outbound and inbound sales strategies, coupled with marketing efforts generating leads, contributes to a well-rounded approach that investors often seek.
3. Sales operations — the vehicles
Sales operations move an organization along the path. They encompass sales processes and tools, technology, design of the sales organization and the composition of the sales team.
In many founder-led organizations, the initial sales endeavors are spearheaded by the founder, leveraging their deep knowledge and passion for the business. A pivotal challenge lies in transitioning from founder-based selling to building sustainable sales operations.
A common misstep is rushing to hire a sales leader without first establishing a foundation of sales professionals adept at prospecting and uncovering new opportunities. In addition, overall onboarding and skill development within the sales team are integral components not to be overlooked.
A trifecta for success
For founders seeking investment and investors evaluating opportunities, the trifecta of strong go-to-market strategy, sales strategy and sales operations can’t be left out of the due diligence process. As an investor, recognizing and questioning the gaps in these areas can pave the way for a more informed decision-making process, a higher likelihood of growth and a successful return.
As a founder, consider enlisting expert advice to fortify your sales structures. This approach improves your confidence and your odds in matching with the right investors for a successful outcome. ●
Amy Franko is CEO and LinkedIn Top Sales Voice at Amy Franko Associates