Skip to main content

Common Revenue Roles at a Startup

“Pay special attention to “batons” that cross functions. Whenever a process crosses teams (Marketing handing leads to Sales, or Sales passing new clients to professional services, etc.), a “baton” is passed. These handoffs are the cause of 80% of the problems and defects in your processes. Redesign how the batons are passed to ensure they are passed smoothly and aren’t dropped.” Aaron Ross, Author, Predictable Revenue
As we continue to scale at SalesWise, it’s important to pay very special attention to our sales process, and the many different hands involved in sales. Especially as I’m hiring in both sales and marketing, it’s important for candidates and existing team members to understand the flow.

Here are the roles for us throughout the revenue-side of the business:
  • Marketing – Can go into many facets here. Specifically, the different ops sides of marketing, but from the beginning, it’s likely marketing is involved to serve up leads for sales to then engage on. (More on these later.)
  • Business Development Rep (BDR)/ Sales Development Rep (SDR) – In Aaron’s book, he cites the importance of bifurcating prospecting from the actual closers. The BDR/ ISR is the early stage of the sales process charged with contacting leads, qualifying leads, and hopefully, setting a conference between lead and the…
  • Account Executive (AE)/ (Inside or Outside) Sales Rep  – These are the organization’s closers. These individuals are charged with working with the prospect to close the deal. They may build relationships with prospects to move the opportunity forward and through to close.
  • Sales Engineer (SE) – “SEs work closely with AEs during the heart of the sale and play the role of trusted technical advisor. They are tasked with translating technical details into business value and mapping technical solutions to business problems.” – Keyuri Yagnik, Sales Engineering Consultant
  • Implementation/ Onboarding – The onboarding team in our case overlaps with the engineering/ product team for now – they help launch a pilot. Given we have some setting up on our end to create dedicated servers for customers, we are hand-holding these implementations before building an AE-admin board and perhaps a self-servicing admin panel.
  • Customer Success (CS)/ Account Management – This role is about ensuring a customer's on-going engagement and education of the platform. The CS provides feedback to the engineering team of what they've found from existing customers. CS teams can also be responsible for up-sell and cross-sell opportunities; thus, it's common for some CS teams to carry quotas.
  • Customer Support/ Customer Service – Different than the Success team in that this role is not assigned to customers, typically. Instead, they provide levels of support from troubleshooting to more technical. They help “fix” issues. 


Popular posts from this blog

My Life-Defining Moment Happened When I Failed to Make Varsity in High School

Ever stop to think about who you are? What makes you tick and tock? How about what you truly enjoy and what you’re good at vs. not good at? Or what/ who has shaped you into the person you are today?
I’m at this stage of figuring out whether to continue independent consulting while iterating on ideas for the next startup or take on some full-time employment (consulting, product management, or otherwise). My recent post about my daily/ weekly schedule was an interesting exercise in stepping back and recognizing what I’m actually doing in a day, and made me really think at the macro level.
In one of my recent reflections, I thought about defining moments in my life. One of those watershed events that truly transformed me was my failure to make the Varsity soccer team in high school. I won’t rehash the whole story here – shared the story almost a year ago in my post titled “Getting Through Dark Moments and the Most Vulnerable Story I've Ever Told Publicly”. It’s this moment that I w…

Vertical SaaS? Horizontal SaaS? It’s All News to Me

Not sure why, but I have only recently heard of a term called “Vertical SaaS”. Okay, there’s also “Horizontal SaaS”, too. Based on some light research, looks like vertical SaaS is also a growing trend and the number of companies fewer than horizontal SaaS providers.
Vertical SaaS borrows its moniker from the concept of vertical integration whereby there is more control over a supply chain from raw materials to point-of-sale. Here, vertical SaaS companies focus on a niche market (industry) offering a solution that enables more process control.
Horizontal SaaS providers get really good at a particular offering, and widen their market to reach scale. Their focus is on breadth of market, and thus, its sales and marketing strategies can require more resources.
Many vertical SaaS companies (such as Veeva Systems, Guidewire, Fleetmatics) are doing well usurping legacy systems of traditionally slow-tech-adoption industries. Here, vertical companies develop a best-of-breed product, and focu…

Role of A Startup Advisor

Over the last year or so, I have become an Advisor for a couple startups. It’s been a great experience for me to teach and continue learning as an entrepreneur. I do meet with several startups and entrepreneurs weekly, but not officially as an Advisor save for a couple.
During (and especially after) Body Boss, I realized the importance of having Advisors. Advisors help startups and the executive team navigate the go-to-market waters bringing specific experience to the table – industry, technology, etc. With that comes connections, too.
The role of a startup Advisor includes: Guiding the startup on its directionProvide valuable insight into the industry, competition, market, etc.Share connections to move the company forward – prospects, new hire candidates, otherEstablish cadence around metrics for progress In exchange for devoting time and attention (and reaching success, hopefully), startups typically provide stock or cash to Advisors. This ensures both parties are aligned on objecti…