Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur and professor at Stanford, has written a great post on sales strategies for startups on his blog. Quoting directly from the article:

Startups and Sales
It might seem that every startup with a direct salesforce needs a consultative sales team.  Not true.

The answer depends on your answer to two questions:

  1. which step in the Customer Development process are you on?
  2. what Market Type is your startup?

The two questions Steve asks are fundamental for determining sales strategy. Ideas are a dime a dozen. What differentiates a business is execution and the key to execution is understanding the environment the company is operating in. The history of the industry, current dynamics of power, shifts in technology should all inform both marketing and sales strategy.


The consolidation curve ties into Blank’s principles as well. HBR has an overview of this concept here. I’ll save a discussion for how the mathematical integration or aggregation Christensen’s customer adoption lifecycle curves fold neatly into the consolidation curve for a future post.