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As CEO or VP Sales, you will not escape having to spend significant time selling your products. Whether you are presenting long term strategies to key clients, wooing a partner to represent your product line (Channel Sales), apologizing for product faults during a critical evaluation or leveraging your own contacts to make those first few sales, the CEO and VP Sales are always expected to be actively involved in the selling process. Live by the adage "the best source of funding is sales of your product" so these roles are integral to the selling process.

Direct selling is the most common form of sales at the start of a new business, in many cases hyper-critical to obtaining a first round of financing. As the business grows, as the relevant markets emerge or mature, formalized sales models are put in place to give organized momentum to the sales process. Direct selling may continue to be appropriate, especially if the product is complex in nature making it challenging for 3rd parties to represent without continual direct assistance. Indirect selling (Channel Sales) tends to become appropriate when the packaging of the product (including all the relevant go-to-market messaging) becomes simplistic enough that a 3rd party can adequately represent it to their customers in local geographic or specific industry market segments. Price points also play a key role in choosing a sales model — high priced products tend to be easier to sell directly due to extensive product expertise and sales resource requirements, whereas low priced products tend to move more fluidly through an indirect channel or mass-market model. But alas, there are many variations of selling so it may take some analytical and intellectual effort to choose the primary model or models that fit the evolution of your business and products.

An Inside Sales model is also becoming popular as a way to scale a business rapidly. It can bolster the Direct model with a team of often headquarters-based sales reps who work email and the phone lines to capture the low end of the sales spectrum for your products. The Inside team can also play a key role in working with partners to provide the in-office sales support needed to help make partners successful. The inside team can also play a needy role when bulk leads arrive (say from an industry event) providing the pre-qualification needed to identify opportunities the other sales teams can follow.

It is also important to pay attention to overall market dynamics. Markets and products evolve through maturity cycles that can take years to fully realize. Overlap this with unforeseen sociological and economic events and there are many dynamics to pay attention to which must be fed into the overall strategic plans for selling. In fact, it is not uncommon to experience a variety of sales models over the lifespan of a product or market, sometimes running models concurrently (which has its own challenges to prepare for).

This section examines a variety of selling models and the related operational issues focusing mostly on what can make them a success or failure for your business. Selling with the right model is complex to perfect in a young organization, so sometimes patience is the desired virtue. Lack of runway may prevent patience from winning the day, so we also need to examine how to determine if the right model is in place before the funding wall is hit ... (Sales Topics)