Sales with a direct sales force

Maybe paid advertising (as described in the prior article) does not work very well on your customers? Or maybe you want to go further than ads can go.

In this case, another way to do “sales” is with a direct sales force. Your sales people might be Dialing for Dollars from a phone bank. Or they might be making in-person sales calls (very popular with pharmaceutical companies). Or they might be emailing.

Or, if you are a tiny company with just one or two or three people, your “sales force” might just be you.

Let’s say that you want to sell a product to schools. You find different ways to discover “teachers” and “principals” and you reach out to them. The key thing that you need is leads, in the form of phone numbers or email addresses. Again, you probably want to do experiments to find the right value prop and offer first. But there are many places to look for leads:

  • LinkedIn has some amazing search features – find “teachers” in the LinkedIn universe and contact them via LinkedIn
  • Buy mailing lists
  • Buy leads
You can buy leads from places like:

Then you build the cost of getting leads into your CAC.

There may also be specialty places to buy leads. For example, if you specifically want to reach software developers, you can buy leads from places like:

Many professions will have specialty lead sources like this, which you can find with a little Googling.

And then hit them with an email ad campaign, or call them, or whatever:

Creating a direct sales team

Creating a direct sales team can be… interesting. Especially if they are dialing for dollars. You would probably like to hire a VP of sales, or a co-founder, with experience in direct sales and sales teams. But whether you hire a VP or do it yourself, here is a typical ad for a sales person:

We are looking for Inside Sales people with grit, ingenuity, hustle, and integrity to solve our customer’s problems and help us uncover new markets for our products while having fun and building a team culture. This role will push you and will require you to grow personally and professionally; in return, we’ll train you in sales and marketing. You’ll have a chance to make a real impact on a quickly growing organization and on your community.

What you’ll do:

* Prospect: Call current and prospective customers; this includes warm calling, emailing, and cold calling. [Reasonable expectation for a full time person who is closing deals AND prospecting is 45-60 calls a day. For someone who is just prospecting it is 80-150…depending if they have a list of leads for the rep or if the rep has to find their own leads]

* Schedule and perform marketing consultations (via phone, webinar, and sometimes face to face) for our current and prospective customers

* Develop sales strategies and trainings to help teach colleagues how to sell into key markets

* Use a CRM to track key business metrics that will inform future strategies

* Attend internal trainings, contribute to marketing and product strategies, and attend occasional external conferences

Desired Traits:

* A person that is curious, hustles, is creative, and never sacrifices their integrity

* A professional that keeps their commitments without making excuses

* Someone that is intelligent, can solve problems, and is thirsty to learn as much as possible

* Coachability: a person that is always seeking and implementing feedback to grow and develop

* Someone articulate with great interpersonal skills and business etiquette

* Ability to manage their time and the discipline to create and stick to their schedule

The key thing to note here is that you are hiring the person to make cold calls, and to follow up on calls. Use a CRM like Salesforce, Hubspot or Sugar to keep track of the calls/contacts.