Not every start-up idea is a simple technology solution. In fact, most are improvements on an existing service. One of the ways service companies grow fast is by hiring sales & account managers to get the word out. A common mistake most start-ups don’t consider is the difficulty of scaling these types of organizations. Whether you are building a phone-interview service (like, sayhired.com) or launching a scaled server offering (like, OneHub.com)… the problems are the same: You need people to sell the service & review content. Robot armies may help in the future, but for now, you need people.
But people aren’t cheap. Good talent requires training, and you can get away with hiring telemarketing talent off Craigslist to get your business off the ground. But what if you’re successful? Managing those people is much different than building your technology or service.
Most Start-up CTOs have a background in Software Development or Website Design. However, to effectively scale a inside sales organization (“inside sales” are essentially activities conducted remotely from the customer … compared to “outside sales” which are face-to-face), an entirely different skill-set is needed. It means understanding how to set up call center infrastructure, workforce planning for peak demand, and a myriad of other challenges. The bigger it gets, the problems become more complex.
As with any marketing or sales organization you manage, the most important criteria becomes ROI per opportunity, and the associated metrics to drive down costs & improve productivity. This means the investment in enterprise management tools to handle large or irregular call volumes, and more supervisory personnel to quality control every customer experience.
This mistake in how you organize your business can remain hidden until you find success. More time & money will be spent managing your quickly growing call center operation, which would more appropriately be spent on your core competency.
Some new services (like, http://www.AllUptime.com) help bridge the gap between start-up idea & scaled inside sales processes. It’s worth considering before you start building your business. Think of it as a scaled elastic server farm, but for sales. Using these kinds of services helps you test ideas without starting down the road of building a back office you don’t need.