How to build a tech startup team for success

By Thomas Fairey, CCO at Quantexa 

 

A business has many measures of success. But, ultimately, if you want to grow a profitable and viable company, you need to turn your attention to generating revenue. As the Chief Revenue Officer, I helped lead the way to Quantexa exceeding a £100m valuation by aligning sales and marketing strategies to complement each other. In this insight, I share my tips and experiences on building a sales and marketing team for success, standing out from the competition, and generating more revenue in your startup.

Build from the outside in.

Behind every successful company is a loyal customer base. Without one, your company will not see growth. So, in order to grow your business, you must begin by putting your customers at the heart of your messaging. Use their language – what is it they say you provide? How do they describe your product?

Don’t begin with a solution and look for a problem; find out what their problems are, then offer the solution. It’s not about your product or services, it’s about how you can help your customer. This may seem obvious, but this is one of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make.

Get the media talking.

To grow your startup, you’re going to need a focused marketing strategy to establish your credibility and gain customer interest. Ask yourself:

  1. Who am I marketing to?
  2. What am I telling them?
  3. What do I want their response to be?

Within 18 months of launching Quantexa, we had made it into the Financial Times. Our secret – PR. There are two key factors for building and managing a good reputation: what your customers are saying about you, and how the media are talking about you. Control this narrative.

Bill Gates once said, “if I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on PR”. Our success propagated from the seeds of PR sown within our carefully planned strategy.

Infuse a human element into everything you talk about. This will make your content more engaging and allow your customers to relate to the work you do. Remember, you are an expert in your field. Your customers want to hear your insight and the innovative solutions to the problems they have been trying to solve for years.

Forget about the competition.

The reason your startup exists is that your competition is failing. If you continuously compare yourself to your competitors, you’ll end up following suit and will arrive at the same outcome. Instead, find what makes you different. Focus on providing a new solution to an existing problem.

Of course, that’s not to say you should lose sight of what your competitors are doing. Don’t emulate them; learn from them.

The tech doesn’t sell itself.

People buy solutions. That’s why your sales team are the most important people for the development of your company. Know what your customer needs, then find the right people to sell it. Your team must be 100% behind your technology.

But it doesn’t stop there. Every one of your employees should be bought into your story and your journey. If there’s any doubt on the inside, this will create doubt on the outside. Make sure every member of staff understands how you are benefiting the customer and how to effectively translate your brand’s mission.

Hire the best, not the same.

Don’t hire people from established companies just because they are in the right sector. Hire people that can build something from nothing. If there are two skills that you should value above any others, it’s those you can’t teach: attitude and intelligence. Hiring from outside your niche won’t be an issue if they’re a quick learner, they work hard, and they believe in your vision.

To stay on the growth trajectory, become obsessed with feedback and improvement – and make sure your team are too. When building a successful startup, your product and your process are going to need some tweaking. But make sure all feedback is constructive – every problem needs a solution.

Your sales and marketing strategies impact not only your revenue but also your brand reputation, employee retention and overall growth. Always aim big and believe in the impact you can make. Despite being told to start small when we launched Quantexa, we went for the big companies – and we won. So, focus on your customers, forget about your competition, find the right people to sell your technology, and do so with confidence.

 

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