How to structure a sales team and process of SaaS ?

We are SaaS - built a integration* for CRM like Pipedrive. We have some trial users , but we need to structure our sales process. What’s the best way to start since we do not have marketing strategy too and no team yet.


Most important of all: think of this from the point of view of your buyers. Make sure you are networking with your clients, rather than your competitors or peers. Learn what they want and when building your sales process don't ask yourself "what should we do next".

Rather ask yourself: "what happens next for the prospect? What would they need from me?"

Understand their buying journey to build your sales process.

Answered 5 years ago


I have helped a startup scale their sales and marketing team to $4.5 million ARR so I feel like I can share a few tips.

1. Create a winning sales culture. Meaning create incentives for hitting goals. Both monthly weekly and even quarterly goals. For example if a new rep crosses 60k banked we would take them out for a custom suit and a steak. This is important as you need to keep your reps motivated.

2. Create dedicated and specialized sales teams. Create an inbound team to handle all of the hot leads. Also, create a cold calling and cold outreach team. Use your marketing department to create tons of ebooks for the sales team and ask them to use it.

3. Streamline your CRM and drill down the data as to where you are closing the deal. The company that I helped scale, used Salesforce and We track everyone's close ratio, and close ratio by lead type. Data is king.

4. Do performance reviews with all reps. Make sure that they have a clear improvement plan. Go over calls and take notes. This is crucial in the long run as it will help you when your scale your team.

5. Figure out 1 or 2 marketing channel that consistently generate leads for your startup. Allocate a marketing budget and keep it it until you start figuring out your CAC (Customer acquisition cost). This is extremely important as all of your projections depend on it.

These are some of the tips I wanted to share. If you are interested in further help, let me know as I have tons of sales enablement experience.

Also, check out this article I wrote specifically covering this topic:

Answered 5 years ago

If you have no marketing strategy, hiring a sales force is not your critical need. I have watched several companies fail because they did not have product/market fit (a marketing function, not a sales function) and hiring a VP of Sales who wants a team of sales people who have no idea who they need to call, who really wants the product, and who does not understand the market needs. Hint: If you think you have product/market fit at this stage, you are wrong. If you are not wrong, you are the very first company ever to hit it at this stage.

There are four stages of sales:

1) Founder sales. If founders are not in the market talking to, and trying to sell to, who you *think* is your target market, then you will not understand the market. You and your co-founders must be talking to the people you think might like your product. You will not achieve product/market fit without this. This is also where you grasp the CAC/LTV that fuels your forecasting. Hint: It is way more expensive and competitive than you thought building code.
2) "Explorer" sales: Once the Founders have sold product enough times and think they have product/market fit (you will still be wrong) and must retool the technology, build a new tech strategy, and get the next version in production, you then hire one or two "explorers" who take that lead but with the express focus of validating the product/market fit, not only revenues. You must listen to their feedback closely.
3) Strategic Sales: This is a small team that 1) understands the market, and 2) selling cycles in that market who can develop the selling process. These are high-talent, intuitive sales people who know how to listen, not talk. They will build the process.
4) Infantry sales: This is once you have the product/market fit nailed, and a developed, replicable process the strategic sales people believe can be scaled.

You have a ton of work in front of you before you hire a sales team. Selling process is not your biggest concern at this point.

Answered 5 years ago

I've been waiting for a question like this since this is exactly my area of expertise (look at my profile to learn why).

It's a bit difficult to give you specific action items to follow since your question is a bit vague/missing some context.

Building out a sales process starts on the marketing front because that's where you generate leads. Sales too can help, but cold calling only accounts for 1% of a company's revenue (not a lot).

Do you do any FB ads? You should generate leads by driving traffic to your app via FB ads. You should offer your product for free for 6 months to drive a lot of traffic. Allow people to sign into the software for FREE for 6 months as long as their credit card is on file (that way you can auto charge them after 6 months).

Then you need to have a CRM that captures these leads and salespeople to call these inbound leads. You need to have a process in place for them. They should call a lead 7-14 times before putting disqualifying them.

I would love to learn more and maybe shed some more light if you'd like to speak.

Answered 5 years ago

Easy answer, avoid hiring a sale staff, because you'll have to manage them + pay them, which will quickly suck all the hours out of your day.

Better to just speak at Meetup groups + conferences matching your target client avatar.

Conferences that come to mind are Affiliate Summit + PubCon.

There are 1000s of other conferences.

Fill out a free speaker proposal as the first step. This will allow you to hone your sales pitch to a perfect state.

You'll know your sales pitch is good, when conference attendees start voting wildly for you to speak at conferences.

This is a great way to reach 1000s/conference of qualified leads.

Answered 5 years ago

1. Your marketing team should be focused on attracting trial users.

2. Your sales team needs to be divided into two groups: a) converting trial users into paid customers b) calling on and selling paid corporate solutions to companies.

They need different skills. You're a. group need to be skilled at B2C because they are dealing with individual users and small businesses. They have to be knowledgable about the plans and advising if it is worth it to upgrade, and to which plan. The b) group needs to be seasoned B2B sales pros who are comfortable dealing with executives.

Answered 5 years ago

in short, get a very experience startup advisory (multidisciplinary, not just marketing) plus build your sales team (can be mixed of virtual and physical) plus develop sales processes using your CRM.

Answered 5 years ago

Here to help, not to judge. Creators of SaaS solutions are generally not the ones leading commercializing of their technology, and I know this because I was relocated to Europe from Silicon Valley, to help create the sales org of a tech company and scale them into the U.S.

***Shameless but useful plug: I did this in just a little over a year. They had no marketing strategy. Check my profile if you want to discuss.***

Firstly, as you're evangelizing this to early users and prospective users, be sure to collect data on what it's taking for them to finally get on board. You've no idea how helpful this will be once you're ready to bring on board a marketing and sales professional; please don't underestimate this! I've saved clients a ton of money and heartache by making sure they were doing this right!

Keep a record of when they decided to say yes and why, what were their initial objections, etc., and try to create a new precedent of a partnership dynamic, rather than simply being their vendor. Ask them for their opinion, ask them what would make the solution better, etc. Allow them to effectively navigate your technology's roadmap. This will position you as a company that is adding value to their business, and not to mention, any product/service refinement as a result of this will likely increase your offerings' stickiness. Basically, YOU have the be the salespeople for now, but don't let this intimidate you. The better you are at this and catering to the existing market, at this stage, the faster you can lock in more deals and then easily identify and train the right salespeople for your team.

Different angle of advice here, but this is the less obvious and most critical piece if it's real growth you're after.

Answered 5 years ago

In sales, a lot of models is used which help the company grow but when you think about saas this specific model can help your business.

Island model

The island model of sales organization results in a more traditional, “sell-or-die” environment that folks typically go with sales reps. There’s actually little organizational structure that goes into it. You provide your team with some basic back-end services: some training, a spread of products they will sell, a commission structure, maybe an office and that’s it.

The assembly line

In this model, every sales rep is actually liable for each step of the sales process on their own. they need to come up with leads by themselves, qualify them, and shut them. Reps within this framework tend to be more aggressive.
They’ve got their elbows to go in fierce competition—not just with the larger market, but their own teams also. Each member of your sales team essentially becomes their own entrepreneur. The line drove the commercial Revolution and built Ford’s famous car. It essentially specialized the labor and sequentially arranged production processes for max efficiency. You can apply the mechanical system structure to your sales team. Your raw materials are essentially your prospective customers, who are cultivated and refined during the sales cycle.

The mechanical system typically breaks down a sales department by function into four different groups:
Lead generation team: to blame for developing leads, and gathering names, phone numbers, emails, and data.

Sales Development Representatives (SDRs):Also commonly named as Qualifiers/Prospectors. SDRs reach resolute prospects and qualify them by asking questions that concentrate on customer needs, and identify the decision-making process.

The pod

A pod works along similar lines to the production line model of sales, but instead creates focused tight-knit groups, or “pods” that are composed of team members that play different roles. A podular organization is customer-centric.
For example, a six-person sales pod would be composed of three SDRs, two AEs, and one Customer Success rep. rather than having large teams, you create little pods of specialised roles, and every pod is answerable for the whole journey of specific customers.

Answered 3 years ago

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