At Sales Engine, we work with a lot of entrepreneurs and especially entrepreneurial companies that are struggling to transition from a somewhat unstructured environment to a structured salesforce.
The Struggle of Transition
One of the hardest transitions for entrepreneurs is from company builder to company salesperson. From creator to communicator, and then back again. What I’ve found is that the vast majority of people are better at the former. We are better at the building part, the part that involves idea generation, product development, raising a team and getting started.
But then the inevitable happens. We have to get revenues. And that’s where the transition to selling must happen. But think for a moment how different these roles are. The process of building an early business is the process of adding to, meaning that every day that goes by, we are adding something; code, people, processes, documentation, content, etc. Complexity grows and grows, and the entrepreneur is really the only person who fully grasps the meaning and the value of all of this effort. Essentially, you are a builder.
Distilling the Entrepreneurial Vision
And then you go to sell it. By necessity, you have to distill all of this information down. The content you’ve been building and creating is too much for people to understand, and often we get lost very quickly in the detail. This is suicidal for a sales process. What high-performing entrepreneurial salespeople do is simplify. They are incredibly disciplined in their process, their communications, their explanations and their examples. What are they really doing? They are stripping away, not adding to. They are revealing the value that exists in this new product or service, and helping people understand why that’s important. They are sculptors, not builders.
This is a difficult transition, and it requires different types of skills and tremendous discipline. We, as entrepreneurs, have to be both. And we have to know which one we are at every moment.