5 Entrepreneurs Share How they Nailed the Sale
Sarah Hamid

Building a selling process from scratch is a daunting task, much less scaling it to something that will eventually pay all the bills. To shed a little more light on how to get it done, here’s the best advice on scaling up your sales from five entrepreneurs.

As you may have noticed already, one of the toughest tasks when starting a business is gaining momentum. Getting on the bike is a big step, but conquering the first mountain of inertia seems almost impossible when you’re at the starting line.

That’s what makes growth hacking so interesting for sales-hungry entrepreneurs.

During our 2017 edition of TechDay, Laurence Bret from Pipedrive and Ben Grohl from Atomico took the stage to share their expertise on growth hacking.

Their combined marketing experience from working at social media powerhouses like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google has taught them that there is a formula for growth that has less to do with luck and more with having the right mindset. Summing up their insights into a single sentence would be impossible, but we’ll try anyway:

The primary obstacles ambitious startups need to overcome to be successful are (1) starting the selling process and (2) scaling the team powering that process to boost revenue.

In the hopes of diving a little deeper, we’ve compiled even more expert knowledge on the subject. What better way to start delving into it that with the story of ousted Tinder cofounder, Whitney Wolfe?

Lesson #1: Scaling is Hackable

After breaking up with fellow Tinder cofounder Justin Mateen, Wolfe was tragically butt out of her own project just as it began to scale successfully.

At age 25 she experienced a devastating blow. After transforming an idea into an app that has redefined modern dating culture as we know it, it was snatched away and, in her words to Business Insider, her own contribution denied by her former team.

"I know everyone wants to refute my role at Tinder but the truth is the truth. I played my role at that company and I’m going to do it again in a different way. I don’t think anyone should be limited in continuing on in their career."

Instead of being defeated by the emotional and professional blow, Wolfe moved on to start Bumble. Widely popular in the United States, she combined her own expertise and that of Badoo cofounder Andrey Andreev to create an incredibly promising Tinder competitor with over 50,000 daily users only a couple of years post-launch.

Long story short, Wolfe successfully scaled two businesses in the same sector, following a similar model in spite of dense competition. Luck had little to do with her success. She discovered a formula that worked and simply applied it again, meaning you can do the same.

Lesson #2: Put Passion Aside

Wolfe’s story demonstrates, above all else, her ability to react in spite of what was most likely an emotionally devastating experience. While entrepreneurs are prized for their passion, sometimes those powerful urges from the heart aren’t the best for your wallet.

Pejman Ghadimi is another well-known serial entrepreneur who, in addition to being a self-made multimillionaire, is the founder of the revolutionary Secret Entourage platform. The site spans over 100 industries, and offers sales, trading, and general business courses from seasoned CEOs and founders to over 30,000 students.

One of his chief philosophies in doing so as mentioned in his well-known book, Third Circle Theory, is the art of separating emotions from decisions.

“Ultimately, there is never a bad choice, only choice itself...Learning to keep your feelings from paralyzing your actions enables you to make better decisions, rather than dwell on what doesn’t work.”

When you start something from scratch, failure is to be expected. This means that along with the small feats there will be failures. Being objective is the key to learning from the bumps and quickly adjusting your course. Luckily for you, staying agile is something startups do best.

Lesson #3: Smaller Means Faster

Comparably is an online platform that displays those no-no confidential salary figures. Founded by serial entrepreneur, Jason Nazar, it is not his first but fourth successfully scaled project.

In a Fortune article, Nazar highlights the benefits of being a startup versus a large company when it comes to collecting revenue. One of the most notable pieces of advice was about decisiveness.

“The thoughtfulness of needing to act deliberately gets mutated into decision paralysis. Decisions that take entrepreneurs an hour often take months at large companies. Yes, these organizations have much more to consider and lose, and should be more thoughtful about the risks.”

While entrepreneurs are disadvantaged in many ways, your lack of resources in terms of workforce makes you a lot more agile. A bachelor business of sorts, you can move and do as you wish without all the meetings and delays. Take advantage of this, and don’t hesitate on an opportunity when it presents itself.

Lesson #4: Don’t Chase Results

You now know that market growth is formula that can be broken down and replicated, emotions don’t belong in business decisions, and quick responses to change are rewarded.

But how do you translate abstract attitudes into actual results?

A seasoned sales expert and cofounder of CRM platform Pipedrive, Timo Rein strongly emphasizes the importance of being activity oriented versus results oriented. You may have certain targets you want to achieve, but the truth is that the only thing in your control in the dynamic space of the modern marketplace are your own actions.

“Results are out of our control. In activity-based selling, the point is that … you control your own schedule. And that’s how you also put yourself in control.You want that. You want to feel in control rather than not knowing how you’re going to get the results.”

Ok, he’s talking about selling, but marketing activities follow the same rule of thumb. Having a solid plan with action points will allow you to focus energy of hustling to get it done rather than pine over low numbers before the quarter’s even over.

Lesson #5: Diversity is Key

Named “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com, Shama Hyder’s is a force to be reckoned with in the world of growth marketing. Founder and CEO of Marketing Zen Group, Hyder’s company services high profile clients like American Express, Capital One, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and more.

In her award-winning book Momentum: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age, she shares advice that helped her scale her business by a 400% annual average since 2009.

“The old marketing model focused on choosing and pursuing just one marketing methodology – traditional or digital, inbound or outbound, push or pull. But in today’s world … marketers embracing the new ecosystem recognize that, rather than choosing between options, we have to integrate them strategically.”

This applies not only to channels, but also the tools you use within certain mediums. Online marketing is a single channel with a huge number of options to diversify. The challenge is being aligned at the same time, and that’s why the tools you use need to be integrable.

Pipedrive’s new Marketplace is an example of how marketing tools can adapt to support multichannel strategies. By offering a unified platform for a wide range of extensions and integrations, and the possibility to even create your own, you can easily oversee multiple marketing efforts and stay on track with your umbrella strategy.

Let’s Sum It All Up

When it comes to growth hacking and nailing the sale it’s clear that you need to be agile, objective, activity-driven, and all the while diverse in the way you approach leads.

Scaling starts when your selling process is on point, and in the famous words of Mark Twain, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”