No sales business model is "forever". As our markets change, our customers change, and our own business strategy changes, it is necessary to reassess our sales business model and develop a market strategy. Unfortunately, too many companies ignore these shifts. They stuck to a model, worked harder and harder, failed to produce results, but failed to recognize that the character of their market had changed—the sales business model needed to change. Or they may have chosen the wrong business model in the first place. We are all familiar with the classic "S-curve" growth. Some of these have become popular (at least from the sales/marketing perspective of Geoffrey Moores' work. These can give us some insight into the best sales business models for the business. Let me take a look at some.
The sales business model for each stage is different. The customer characteristics of each market segment vary. The sales business model is different. How we attract innovators, how we create value, how we help them navigate their buying process is different from what we have to do for early adopters, early/late masses, or laggards. However, if we apply a sales business model optimized for one segment to other segments, we will fail. Let's take a look at some of the implications of these: Innovator: If our ICP is in the industry mailing list category, the sales model is very different from other categories. By definition, this is a relatively small market. These customers may contribute to the development of our solutions and the early development of the market. "Selling" in this market tends to look more like developing strategic alliances, developing partnerships, etc.
It requires deep expertise and a focus on customers who are willing to try, learn, and co-develop. Their stakes are high - they recognize that some of these "experiments" may not work. Often, they will isolate "experiments" to a small part of their business. Our "sales" are very focused - probably led by our CEO and other top executives. We focus on identifying these innovators and approaching them on a very strategic level. We don't have a "sales process", we're limited to no marketing, we can't staff traditional sales roles because we and our target customers are trying to figure out what our solution is, what our value proposition is, and who our Mainstream customers are likely to be. The biggest challenge is that very little of our sales approach to these clients is adaptable and meaningful for scaling our sales approach. As we get into early adopters, we're still in a position to learn and adapt quickly.