Not only is every rule that successful sales executives have learned in large companies not applicable to startups, it is positively detrimental.
When you are validating your idea, you are not going to hire and staff a sales team. You are not going to be executing a sales plan, and you are definitely not going to be executing your “sales strategy.”
The reality is that you simply do not know enough to do any of these things. You may have your hypotheses about who will buy, why they will buy, and at what price they will buy, but until you validate those hypotheses, that is all they are, educated guesses.
One of the major outcomes of validation is a proven and tested sales road map. You will create this map by learning how to sell to a small set of early visionary customers. They will actually pay for the product -- sometimes months or even years before it is completed. However, the goal of this step is not to be confused with “selling.”
You should care less about the revenue you generate than you do about finding a scalable and repeatable sales process. Building a road map to sales success, rather than building a sales organization, is the heart of the validation step.
Given how critical this step is, the first instinct a CEO has is to speed up the process by putting more salespeople in the field. Don't -- that does not speed up the validation phase. In fact, it slows it down.
For more on validating your startup idea, watch the short video above.
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