The Importance of Sales for an Entrepreneurial Organization
By definition, an entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business and is willing to take on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so. Practically speaking, an entrepreneur is required to wear many hats including Chief Revenue Officer. One of the key aspects of being an entrepreneur and operating a business is the ability to conduct Business Development. Creating Revenue through sales is the ultimate Catalyst for any entrepreneurial endeavor. The existence of sales place important aspect in many ways for an organization.
Sales equates to revenue and revenue covers expenses. The ability of a business to cover its expenses create stable operations and the opportunity for growth. Without sales the organization will often struggle and have a difficult time attracting talent and actually growing the business.
Sales appears as the top line number of any financial document and usually gives an indication as to the health of the organization. Watch an episode of Shark Tank and you will hear the number one asked question, "How much have you done in sales?" Investors will always want to understand the revenue model that is in place for a business and also to see if there is any traction in the organization to demonstrate the ability to have cash flow, and possibly increase of cash flow.
Sales do another thing for an organization; It creates a system, or process for growth. When an entrepreneur is able to define the method by which they identify a customer, present to the customer, and are able to close the customer in a duplicatable and scalable manner, then they can build a sales team around this process. Most often an entrepreneur will figure out this process internally through a trial and error method to build the sales funnel for their organization. When resources are available, it is valuable to bring an organization such as Paradigm 5 who assists with building the sales funnel and a sales department. According to its founder, Charlie Winn, "Selling is always a critical component of being an entrepreneur because there are never any guarantees in either endeavor. Thus, the ability to deal with that uncertainty and move forward towards defined goals is a skill that directly transfers." Once this is established, it is a matter of resources in order to grow the company.
Sales is based on an individual's ability to connect and influence another decision-maker. An entrepreneur must, as Stu Heinecke talks about in his book How to Get a Meeting with Anyone, first identify the person who is the CEO (Center of Enterprise Opportunity). Then create a strategy for connecting with them. Through this connection, a relationship can be established. Ultimately a sale can be made based on the perceived or actual value provided by the entrepreneur.
Success as an entrepreneur is about being focused on your outcomes and producing results in all areas. Your ability to develop business and create sales for your organization will have a direct impact on the success and growth of the business over time.