How To Scale Startup Sales Teams with Patrick Thorp of Sales For Startups

This week, we are talking to Patrick Thorp, Head of Delivery at Sales for Startups. With immense knowledge and insight into sales strategy and operations, Patrick stresses the distinct functionality of sales and revenue operations and shares his secrets of developing a foolproof business structure. In conclusion, Thorp also addresses how startups can plan growth for 2021.

Check out all the episodes here.

Sales strategy and operations consultancy for startups 

Patrick shares that Sales for Startups works with businesses as early as those with from 0-5 sales people, to implement sales processes that help them scale.

Sales for Startup is a growth consultancy exclusive to startups and tech businesses (typically B2B or SaaS based). They create predictable revenue for their clients. 

Difference between sales ops and revenue ops

Patrick emphasized the growing trend towards of revenue operations (or rev ops) and the dire need to distinguish it from sales operations (or sales ops). 

Rev ops stitches together marketing, sales, and customer success. Marketing is responsible for engagement (how to aware people of your brand), Sales looks after execution (how to turn potential customers into paying customers), and customer success focuses on expansion. The department that sits behind these three functions is rev ops. 

Sales ops is sales focused – it works just on the sales function. Patrick shares investment in a sales ops resource or function must generate enough revenue for a clear ROI to be seen.

The perfect structure for a growing revenue function

Patrick shares that the perfect structure for revenue operation is as follows…

Each department should have a VP:

  • VP Sales
  • VP Marketing
  • VP Customer Success

These VP’s report into a Chief Revenue Officer and this person is supported by a revenue operations function that supports all three of the revenue generating departments.

We agree that this structure is ideal… though won’t be effective for smaller organisations. Though we would still recommend that smaller businesses start building a revenue operations function as soon as they can justify the ROI of an operations resource, this function can they grow over and ultimately support the CRO.

Salesis now driven by data 

Sales for Startups client work is purely data-driven. Patrick believes the days of running sales processes based on intuition and emotion are gone. Now is the time to rely on data. 

In the past four years, Patrick has dealt with 60+ businesses and conversed with 200+ founders of these businesses. With this exposure, he summarises three areas in which a startup must focus on if they are to grow:

  • Proposition
  • People 
  • Process

All challenges faced by a growing startup sales function fit within one of these buckets…

The biggest sales-related challenge for startups

Startups have a common loophole – that is, a lack of understanding regarding what problem they solve.

 Patrick suggests startups first need to spend time on articulating what problem they solve and the symptoms of this problem. Patrick stresses that selling features and benefits of a product  won’t work, instead startups must focus on communicating the outcome that their potential customers are looking to achieve.

Another challenge that growing startup sales functions have is adequate documentation. Startups often overlook this, and once things scale up, processes become challenging to manage. Patrick suggests incorporating software here to ensure effective documentation.

#1 sales metric: creating a quarterly forecasting funnel 

Patrick Thorp believes in an accurate forecast. 

He suggests startups to create realistic and achievable goals within set deadlines. 

Start by dividing your year into 4 quarters of 3 months/12 weeks/90 days. Decide objectives and goals for each quarter, then decide which activities you can take that would hit those targets. To scale your progress further, divide these quarters into 6 sprints of 2 weeks. This helps maintain focus and develop momentum.

Who in the sales ops world would Patrick like to take out for lunch?

Key resources

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