Making sales is rarely a piece of cake for most businesses, but for startups in particular, who have to sell products or services that the marketplace may not yet see the need for or even understand, sales is a particular challenge.
The job is made harder by the fact that it’s difficult to find talented people who actually want to do it, with most attracted to established companies where the commissions are plentiful.
Looking to help ease the pain by connecting startups in need to qualified salespeople looking for new career opportunities is Melbourne startup SalesTribe, founded by Graham and Doug Hawkins.
The idea came to Graham while researching his book, The Future of the Sales Profession. Through his research, Graham found that one million of the 4.5 million business-to-business (B2B) sales jobs in the US are projected to be axed by 2020; translated to Australia, that trend will affect 96,300 B2B salespeople.
“Consequently, salespeople need to reinvent, repurpose and reconnect themselves. As the market continues to shrink for B2B salespeople, startups require flexible, on-demand sales capability to achieve those initial, early revenue streams needed to survive and grow,” Graham said.
“Startup founders with little or no sales experience often fail in managing specialist sales resources as they don’t know what to look for. In addition, the dynamic nature of startups requires agility to flex up and down as the business changes direction, grows and expands.”
Thinking both sides need the other, Graham went about creating SalesTribe.
For startups, the first step is having SalesTribe provide them with an assessment of their go-to-market plans, with recommendations made around how they can optimise execution with people, processes, and technology.
“We offer a full service sales and marketing capability to assist startups that don’t know where to start when it comes to sales and marketing. SalesTribe gives founders their time back to focus on building their business, while we drive sales and help them grow,” Graham said.
Salespeople, meanwhile, are taken through “a range of assessments and programs”, explained Graham, that allow SalesTribe to vet them, and understand their skillsets and how or when they may be able to add the most value to a startup. Salespeople can also work with mentors to help them become “startup ready”.
Among the other offerings available to salespeople are a ‘personal branding package’ for $900, a resume review for $470, a LinkedIn profile optimisation for $200, and career planning for $600. Some of these services may seem like they would be self explanatory, but they’re there working with the idea that salespeople often don’t know how to sell themselves, particularly to the buzzword-loving tech crowd.
SalesTribe then matches the startup-ready salespeople with startups and small businesses in need, able to provide businesses with talent on a flexible or on-demand basis.
In looking to bring salespeople on board, Graham said SalesTribe is looking for talent that fits three broad personas, ranging from the older, more experienced sales professional to the younger, tech-savvy millennial, reaching them through channels such as LinkedIn.
The platform launched earlier this month, announcing it has also been selected to take part in the UK Government Department for International Trade’s Global Entrepreneur Programme, which helps startups relocate their businesses to the UK.
“Compared to Australia, the UK has eight times the market size of salespeople and three times the market size for startups,” Graham said.
“The UK DIT Global Entrepreneur Program is already providing significant value to SalesTribe with market entry planning, contacts, and advisory.”
As it gears up to launch in the UK later this year, SalesTribe will look to continue building out, testing, and refining its offering locally.
Image: Graham Hawkins and Doug Hawkins. Source: Supplied.