About a year ago Guillem Muñoz, Ismael Rodriguez and Andreu Araque founded Hedyla, we were 3 engineers with limited experience in Sales. I had participated in many projects with clients, also in many pre-sales processes, but we were aware that we were not strong in this field. Assist a sales colleague or deal with clients that already signed a contract is not the same as selling or finding potential clients.
So, what did we do? Basically read a lot about the topic, have meetings with experts on sales, get all the information and create our own sales process, materials, test everything and iterate. Marc Torrens told us something we have kept in mind, he told us not to try to look like sales guys, to sell as engineers. Negotiations, when to talk about the price, and all this kind of topics are also really important, but there is a lot of information and many opinions. A conclusion we arrived at is that each sale is different, so it’s important to standardize but also to be flexible and accommodate the process to keep it natural. Also it is critical to end processes, closing the deal or losing it, but this feedback and learn is key, if you just keep it there with no progress, you have lost it and have not learnt.
As we were not experts, we focused on creating the whole process, set up some tools to help, like Hubspot or Linkedin Sales Navigator, and start contacting potential clients, also by phone. In my opinion, this is the way to go, prepare the basic material and start contacting, you can read a lot and learn, but talking to companies, to people, is the best way. I want to say thanks to all the people that help, specially Marc Monguió, Dario Lombardi, Eulalia Balañà and Salvador Muñoz.
From my point of view there are some things that make it simple for engineers, for instance you can explain in more detail what your software does. However, it is important to keep in mind that deep technical details do not help during the first contacts. If you know what it can really do and the potential of the product, you are also very motivated in order to engage clients. In addition, if you are able to create a good sales pitch and argumentation, being an engineer helps to obtain credibility, probably they expect something ugly and not so sophisticated, so the expectations are probably lower and doing a good job on it can create a good impact.
On the other hand, when you are selling what you have implemented or you will have to implement, you avoid selling impossible things. How many times the business developer sold something and you thought “really??? why? sell what we have!”. However, when you start selling, you realize that needs from every client are typically different from one to the other, it’s complex to sell exactly the same, so you need to evaluate which functionalities make sense to include in your product, which ones are just customizations or the ones that does not fit your company goals, so you have to decline.
The most exciting part of selling software as an engineer for your own startup is that the roadmap of the product is alive, you can adapt very quickly and react to the market demand. Talking directly with potential clients provides you with a better vision of the companies needs, so you can implement exactly what is needed and that will scale, which is not typically the same they think they need, but this is a topic for another article…