Sales drive a company's growth, so if you want to become a multi-million-dollar company it makes sense to amass a huge sales team. Not so, says Zubin Irani, CEO of cPrime, a $50 million company helping big names such as Wells Fargo, Visa, Facebook and Pinterest--as well as many startups--adopt and scale Agile software development. The size of his sales team? Five. Here's how he says you, too, can get big by being small.
1. Invest in basic marketing tools.
Countless cloud platforms exist to help companies identify leads and connect with them. "With one or two people you can generate hundreds of thousands of potential leads," he says. "You can connect with thousands of people and then find the right ten, twenty, fifty, hundred people who are actually interested in your product."
2. Get good at content marketing.
Offer webinars, create compelling blogs and otherwise find ways to get people to engage with your company online. "We don't talk about ourselves," he says. "We talk about the problems that we're solving and we open source our ideas and share some of the solutions."
3. Use marketing automation.
What's next after you have people engaging with your online content? Marketing automation tools such as Pardot, Marketo and Eloqua can help you nurture and prioritize your leads. "This person, this company--they seem like they're ready to buy or they seem like they're at a point where they've done a lot of research and they may be ready to have a conversation," he says. "So then you could focus your outbound just to the small set of people who are actually potentially ready to buy."
4. Offer services as a few well-defined products.
Will it be easier for customers to choose between a half dozen choices, or 100 of them? Make things easy on your sales team by giving them a short list of well-defined products to tout. "Even as a consulting company that sells services you have to put boundaries around what those services are, treat your services like a product and say 'here are the solutions we have,'" he says.
5. Generate proposals quickly.
Your business is an engine that needs to run without sputters or stoppages. Within minutes after communicating with a customer who wants to do business, he or she should receive a proposal. Again, this process can be automated with any number of cloud platforms.
6. Don't task your salespeople with anything other than what they do best.
Stellar salespeople are often the most highly compensated players in an organization. Cut these people loose to do what they do best--engage with customers, listen to them, understand their needs, present the right solution and negotiate the win. "It doesn't make sense to say to that person 'Go call a thousand people and try to identify new customers,' or 'You've sold these ten deals, now make sure they get delivered,'" he says. "They didn't get into sales to do prospecting, marketing or delivery. They got into sales to do sales."