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    3 Replies Latest reply on Apr 11, 2010 5:25 AM by Mongoose

    Internet startup -need advice on sales position

    bravcom Newbie
      Hi everyone, I just joined up, glad to find this place!

      My name is Darrick and I'm in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I've been in the software/web programming and computer sales arena since 1996.

      I am in the process of starting up an internet company with a very specific market - high schools (20,853) to be exact. I am working on my business and marketing plan and need some advice.

      This product, although web based, will need to do a lot of cold calling and old fashion selling. It can't rely on web searches (though a percentage will come form the googlers!). Should I use in-house salespeople (1 or 2 to start) or outsource to some company (I'm not even sure if there is such a creature, but I'm betting there is).
      I have been in retail and web sales for around 10 years, but I will be busy in the development of the product (I'm a programmer), so I would not be able to do both jobs effectively, but with my experience, I can train any potential salespeople. The main issue, is which would be more cost effective? I would, most likely, use a fade against salary type of commission system if I had in-house sales, but thats still way up in the air!

      A major issue is that with the potential number of customers, each needing attention from a salesperson, it could quickly get overwhelming, so I have to look at the potential of bringing in additional people during certain times of the year (school year starts, etc). This is going to be the same with the support staff.

      So what I am looking for is some advice for these issues.

      I'm also looking for a partner/investor for this. As I said I am in the process of putting together the business plan and marketing plan so I don't have either available at this time, but I can give anyone interested an overview (with a non-disclosure agreement, of course).
      my email is dlwolfe@bravcom.com if anyone wants to chat.

      Thanks guys!
      Darrick
        • Re: Internet startup -need advice on sales position
          blitzlocal Adventurer
          Darrick,

          As you are the founder, visionary, and builder of your high school targeted product-- the best sales person for now is you. Other folks aren't going to be able to understand the concept as clearly or be as passionate, since this is YOUR idea. Unless you have the money to start hiring, I'd recommend that you pilot your product on just a few schools. In the process of going live, you'll learn a lot about what real users think of your concept-- and that will allow you to make adjustments. It would be a mistake to launch something with a few sales people and no real user data, especially in the age of "ultralight" start-ups.

          We started our business this way a few years ago and have gone from a couple folks to 45 employees.

          Hope that helps,
          Dennis
          analyst, blitzlocal.com
          online performance marketing
          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: Internet startup -need advice on sales position
              bravcom Newbie

              Hi Dennis

               

              Thanks for the advice. I'm planning on doing an initial test run with approximately 8 schools, which will last around 5-6 months. I'll be doing most of the sales, support and development of the product. It's after that point, when there will be no way for 1 person to do it all (for example, this software will probably be sold to 8-10 schools at a time - this makes sense if you knew what the product was *grin*). The sales will take off quickly because of a great interconnectivity between different schools, kind of like word-of-mouth on steroids. By 2010 my goal is to have 500 (out of 20,853, so around 2.4%) schools to be onboard. The thing is I will have to move fast to meet this goal. So after the initial testing, I'll have to not only work on the bugs/issues/feedback on the product, I have to sell like a mad man, go to certain conventions, etc in order to promote the product. Not to mention, work on selling advertisement to other companies.

              So back to my original question, once sales begin to pick up, is there an outside source to temp out salespeople, or would I be stuck with doing it in-house? I'm just wanting to understand what options there are.

              Again, thanks for the info, dennis! it's greatly appreciated!
              -Darrick