Founders who are singlehandedly helming a startup often don’t realise it but they are the ones who are primarily bringing in the bread and butter for the entire team, and I am saying so more from sales perspective.
Founders in their first three years of starting up, who run organisations with less than Rs 10-20 crore of revenue, will always find themselves struggling to have a fixed schedule, keep tabs on every area of company, and to make most of their time and talent. They are constantly chasing ideas in their head, and something or the other left undone in their hands.
In such conditions, there are chances that you, the founder, may lose focus on marketing and sales. Often, you’ll end up working for your employees, even when you are paying them.
So how can you keep marketing and sales intact and functioning well in your organisation?
- Set goals that 80 percent of the team find realistic
While you may lay stress on and ultimately do set goals, you may fail at achieving them because you alone set the goals, and tell your teams to achieve them. No involvement means no commitment, so involve your core team in setting the targets. Explain the costs, profit needs, future plan costs, future need of cash, and everyone altogether must set a target.
I know most of you will hesitate doing so, because we don’t want to tell our team what we are really making. But if you chose to do so, everyone in your marketing and sales team will think like you, and you need to worry about less decisions and more things will get done quicker.
The biggest tactical benefit is that you’ll start seeing more real business problems, instead of face-saving arguments from non-performers.
- Identify most impactful digital marketing KPIs
It’s still not uncommon to see founders asking for ad copies, writing the text ad copies for the team, and doing keyword research. You’re wasting your time. You’re not performing well in your role.
Usually, a founder does this to have some control over their marketing efforts, but the true way you can have better control is by checking and questioning the performance of team against marketing and sales key performance indicators (KPIs).
The KPIs for for marketing, in general, are:
- Weekly spent comparison versus the channels (eg. CPA, dollar value, unit metrics)
- What is behind the ups and downs, and
- What will the team do to meet the target?
The KPIs for sales:
- Lead pipeline health, conversion funnel performance,
- Who’s closing most deals, and how? And,
- Why are others not able to perform?
- Prioritise check on KPIs every morning
For the simplest reason that you can exist only if your sales will exist.
- Don’t offer rewards for meeting goals, but for exceeding
This one is my favourite. What’s exciting in achieving what we already knew we could achieve? The next level of challenge is to exceed the targets. Your company won’t grow fast if you keep achieving the targets, but only if you keep exceeding them. This habit should be instilled with priority into organisational culture, instead of dancing over tables.
Don’t punish the under-performers so often, but highlight aggressively the over-performers. Reward them adequately not only financially but respect them, and make others respect them as well. This will do wonders to the morale of your performing team. Ignore non-performing ones for a while, sooner or later they will decide for themselves, or you will.
- Let the team decide on things, you decide on financials and brand image.
You know your core team will love it when you step aside and let them take the final call on regular things. It shows you respect their skills and capability to move things ahead. It’s a far better morale booster than money.
The biggest mistake single founders commit is hiring talent for their expertise and then telling them what to do. Whether you are dealing with your in-house team or with your digital marketing agency, both will exist if your revenues will. So use them well to save yourself time, and stay focussed on your larger goals.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)