Cutting Your Teeth in Sales

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 3 Early Customer Stage, Sales

If you are an entrepreneur then sales is always a part of your responsibility. Here are some tips for cutting your teeth in sales.

skillsCutting Your Teeth In Sales

Elephants are born with a set of molars – two on top and two on the bottom. When these teeth wear down, they’re replaced with a new set. In fact, in an elephant’s 65-year lifespan, these molars are replaced five times.

During the two-year period when the new teeth are coming in, it hurts like crazy. So, to help them deal with the pain, the elephants chew rocks.

I’ve chewed rocks at least five times in my sales career.  Each time, my old sales skills were no longer sufficient to feed me anymore and I had to grow new ones. At first, you don’t even know what to do – just that it’s getting more and more difficult to get the business. So you just chew harder and complain about it to everyone you know.

Ultimately, you realize that you need new teeth.  Are you chewing harder than ever before, but getting fewer results?

Excerpts from “Sales Wisdom of the Elephant” by Jill Konrath

If you are an entrepreneur then sales is always a part of your responsibility. Perhaps not your primary responsibility, but always something that your actions impact directly.  Sanjay Srivastava gave a very candid talk at TiE  on his entrepreneurial journey in March of this year. One of the lessons he shared from founding and growing Denali Software:

“In a startup, it may look like a sales problem or a marketing problem but it’s also an engineering problem.  There is something you can do to the product to affect the situation.”
Sanjay Srivastava

Even technical entrepreneurs can have an impact and are normally intrinsic to the early sales process.

If you are selling to businesses, in particular if it’s a complex or orchestrated sale, Jill Konrath has written two good books on the process that are very accessible, full of practical examples, and provide a process and checklist perspective that engineers and scientists may find easier to relate to than other more anecdotally driven books.

We also offer a private half-day workshop for B2B startups on “Engineering your Sales Process” that addresses

  • Your Customer’s Buying Process: Understand, Believe, Act
  • Your Sales Process:  Lead Generation through Closing
  • Techniques for Shortening the Sales Process & Cutting Time to Revenue
  • Analyzing and Debugging Your Sales Process: Finding Revenue Leaks

We have been offering this for four years now and have taken several startups through it this year, if you are interested in learning more or scheduling one please contact us.


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