Why Start-Ups Should Nail Down Their Marketing Before Building a Sales Team

Sep 19, 2022
Collin Stewart

Investing in marketing may seem like an unnecessary expense to most startup founders, especially when it’s much more tempting to start building an outbound sales team and bringing in new customers.

But without the right foundations in place and a solid marketing strategy, any sales development efforts will fall short. Here are 5 reasons startups should nail down their marketing before building a sales team. 

1. Maximize your time

Before you start marketing your product or building a sales team, you need to be clear on your ideal customer and target market. Trying to market your business to everyone is a waste of resources. 

Instead, hone in on a niche target market and focus your attention entirely on that market. Know your ideal customer profile (ICP) inside and out, and start researching different buyer personas. Without these initial steps, any outbound sales efforts will go to waste.

If you need help nailing down your ICP or target market, click here to book a discovery call and learn how our coaches can help.

2. Generate leads as you gauge interest

It takes time to build a go-to-market strategy, but you don’t need to stay idle. While perfecting your product and learning about market share, you can use that time to start building an email list and putting out content.

Not only will this generate leads for your future sales team, but creating content is also a great way to gain a deeper understanding of your target market. This can help guide your strategy in the right direction.

Starting with marketing can also help you gauge demand for your product so that when you do begin to hire sales development reps, you have a better idea of how many salespeople you’ll require–preventing expensive hiring mistakes.

3. It takes time to build authority 

If you want to become the go-to expert in your industry, that takes time and commitment. 

It’s very difficult to sell a product that no one has ever heard of. Marketing can lay that groundwork early on so that by the time you start building a sales team, your business already has some brand recognition.

Marketing can help your target market become problem aware so that when your sales team reaches out, later on, your prospects are already looking for a solution.

4. Better alignment between outbound sales and marketing

It seems that sales development and marketing are forever at odds. Most of the friction between these two functions comes from miscommunication or misalignment of goals.

But if you start with strong marketing foundations, then outbound sales and marketing will work toward common objectives. The sales team shouldn’t have any issues with lead quality, for example, because both teams have a clear understanding of the ICP.

5. A holistic approach can improve outbound sales results

As your business grows and you start to build a sales team, those marketing foundations will become even more important. 

Knowing your ICP and understanding your target market is crucial for success in outbound sales. Without those basic criteria nailed down, your sales team will waste time targeting the wrong leads and speaking to unqualified prospects.

Instead, the sales development team can tailor their outreach based on data that marketing has already collected. Real results will inform your sales strategy rather than just guesswork.

Marketing is the foundation for successful outbound sales

Marketing and outbound sales are equally important to scaling a startup, but when it comes to timing, marketing should always come first. Nailing down those foundations early on can help prevent costly mistakes down the line.

As you start to scale and hire sales development reps, the details of your target market, brand messaging, and ICP becomes even more important. Invest in your marketing foundations now, and it will pay off dividends as your business grows.

We’ve compiled 31 of the most relevant outbound sales stats, covering everything from email outreach and cold calling to some surprising trends in the sales job market–and an unexpected reason your reps may be losing hours of productivity. 

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