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  • Writer's pictureMatt Aird

Stop Hunting for a Sales Unicorn - Develop a System Instead

Tips from Owen Scott, Managing Director at

We recently sat down with Owen Scott, founder and Managing Director of Concentrate, and author of “Hunt for the Sales Unicorn” to talk about tech companies scaling sales and how to avoid common pitfalls.

The challenges moving from founder lead sales

The founder does everything - it is a common story for tech companies. However, there comes a point where they want to scale, and Owen says that’s the point the founders release they can’t do everything forever. When thinking about hiring to handle sales, founders often make the mistake of looking for what Owen terms a “founder replacement”.

As Own puts it “if you look at the founder, the way they sell is the founder can make promises, come up with the price, define products on the fly” you can’t replace this with a unicorn superhero sales person – you’re setting them up to fail. Even great salespeople need support. They need a supply of leads, structure, and a defined product.

So, what should founders avoid?

Owen says that the common pitfalls he sees is not having a defined sales process, no handover process from marketing to sales, and treating them like a lone wolf – giving them the sales collateral and expecting them to find, nurture and close deals. This creates frustration for everyone, the founder doesn’t have visibility over the sale process and the sales representative is having to make things up as they go along without the support from the founder.

When should founders make the first sales hire?

“It’s earlier than you think” Owen says. As soon as you want to start scaling sales and the founder doesn’t have capacity to be full-time in the sales role, you need to bring in a new model. Founders know when they can afford a resource in this area, and it can be earlier than you think. It doesn’t have to be a superhero salesperson; you can do it earlier and go for a lower cost salesperson – the Business Development Representative (“BDR”).

The role of the BDR is to slice off the first step of the traditional sale process – the prospecting. Owen is putting his advice into practice in his own business. Concentrate has recently hired a BDR to focus on prospecting. The BDR’s role is to find leads, qualify leads, and introduce the prospect to Owen who takes over the rest of the sale process from there.

By clearly defining the role of the BDR (for example, setting up meetings with qualified prospects), and tying their pay to those meetings, Owen says this has cut 30% of time off the sales process. This has also lead to Owen having qualified rich conversations every week with potential new business.

So what are Owen’s three pieces of advice?

  • Hire that BDR: You need to chop the front off the sales process and pass it to a BDR. Find someone who is willing to learn and give them the support they need.

  • Bolt a lead generation capability: A lot of tech companies this is website, support and branded content. Owen says you should change the role of marketing and really “hold their feet to the fire” and get them generating leads for the BDR. A good rule of thumb is half the leads should come from marketing and half of the leads should come from the BDR.

  • Structure behind the BDR: Support the BDR by providing structure in the form of a clearly defined sales process and sales plays

If you're thinking about putting a BDR into your business get in touch and we can discuss how we help.

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