Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators
Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators
Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators

Sales Plan

How do you build a sales funnel and create viable funding options?

Sales for ESOs

Hey everyone, it's Keith with Spring and in this section we're going to continue to work on our new plan. And we're currently across our four modules of current assessment, then build the new plan, then convening, then running the plan, and then funding the plan.

We're in this build the new plan section. And again for some of you we're adjusting our plan by 10%. For some of us we're completely rebuilding it. It doesn't matter. We're just going to make sure that we've done a great job now, as we set ourselves up for success coming out of this recession, and into a resilient and sustainable future.

And so today we're going to talk about a bit of a recap on where we've been, and then we're going to get into sales - specifically solution selling sales channels, and building a pitch deck.

And so for the new revenue plan, what does our new revenue process look like? And so just to recap, we've identified some opportunities to pursue through building our theory of change or ecosystem mapping, doing some program mapping.

We've also kind of figured out who we're talking to through our financial sustainability canvas, and who we've worked with in the past, and who we can work with in the future. And that gives us a good groundwork now to set up a sales process that allows us to do that.

And we're going to start with solution selling. And solution selling is when we engage with partners or prospects to find out their biggest needs, their biggest priorities, and their timing.

And in our case, we run a marketplace. The marketplace is entrepreneurs on one side, we have donors and funders and corporates on another side, and we even have a third side which is investors from time to time. And so for us this means that we need to consider all of those when we're solution selling. So find out what their needs are, what their priorities are, and their timing. And once we have that, then we can suggest what solutions we may have to solve those needs. So we do it by listening first, tailoring the offer to those needs, and using their words.

Now my guess is many of you have been doing select solution selling already, but now we're giving it a name. And when we give it a name we can give it a structure and a process.

And so the important part is we need to find the patterns. And all of this information - and we use information like roles, job titles, demographics, needs and priorities. We also try and find patterns in how they react to possible solutions, which could be programs or projects or services. How they react to pricing or size of the project, timelines, and how we get it to them, or how we deliver it. And also how we define some next steps.

And so, you know, how do we then take these patterns and turn them into a path? And so what we're doing is we're tracking all of that demographic information we described in some kind of a tracking sheet - a word document or an excel spreadsheet - and we want to identify the patterns.

So are there some changes to this product that we're offering? Whether it's programs or space or a mix of both. What are some of the changes to the marketing that we're gonna do? So changes to messaging or changes to how we describe the offer. How do we change our sales script? So how do we tell people about it in a way that gets them excited and want to work with us? So, overall, how do we update our approach?

And so some ideas that I like to discuss in a recession and kind of in transition times - or even if when you're just meeting new organisations - is to think about are there opportunities to make smaller offerings like workshops and webinars, boot camps, proof of concept advisory services? And finding ways to collaborate across all of these.

So a really good way is to kind of get in early, build some relationship, right? So relationship building. We're building trust and we're also building this kind of confidence that we can actually deliver the bigger projects and the more substantial projects over time.

And one thing I do want to touch on, which I think a lot of ESOs forget about, is we do have an opportunity to leverage what we call sales channels. And so in sales channels, of course sales channels are about how we deliver our product or service, and will the pricing be the same?

And for ESOs like us, we actually do have potential channels starting with other ESOs. So, for example, collaborating with Impact Hub Global, or collaborating with SecondMuse, or Spring, you know, So these are organisations that you can partner with where they might be the primary delivery partner for a project, but we can actually deliver our value and our services through them. Sometimes you can do it directly with foundations as well.

And why do we have these opportunities? Well, first it's because we provide regional representation. Sometimes in our city, sometimes in our country, sometimes in the region as a whole. And the second reason why we would do this is because the other ESO or the other foundation actually has the relationship with the primary donor or funder. And so it's an opportunity for us to, you know, connect and be able to deliver projects through that other pre-existing relationship.

And it's important to note that there can be some impacts in what we're doing. One of course is it may affect how we price. We may have to charge a little bit less because we're going through a partner, and so we need to take that into consideration.

As well, there's positive and possibly negative considerations on brand by connecting with a global brand like a SecondMuse. You have an opportunity to build your brand up and in other cases it may hide or dilute your brand. So keep these things in mind as you look for channels. But I really encourage all of us coming out of here to actively try and identify some specific channel partners that we can work with.

And so if we've gone through this work of building theory of change, our ecosystem mapping, our program, mapping - now we're kind of saying, "Hey I want to do some solution selling." And, you know, we're in this place now where we can build a pitch deck. And so in our pitch deck we want to use a framework that helps us to articulate what it is that we're going to offer. We may never bring the pitch deck out, but we use it as a way to organise our thoughts, get a really good flow in our pitching process, and sometimes of course, we use it.

So we have a title slide, we have a vision or why slide, we have a slide about the team. Then what we want to do is talk about our progress and results to date. All of this is designed to both inspire and build trust and confidence.

Then what we do is we talk about the needs in the market that allows us to both clearly identify the needs in the market, but also to clearly indicate that we know what we're talking about, that we've done the homework, and that we've seen this opportunity. Then what we do is we talk about how we want to respond to those needs and that's kind of our 12-month program plan, and digging into that kind of program mapping, the ecosystem mapping that we've been working on.

That then opens the door for us to kind of take a step back from the deck open and engage in the discussion with our funding partner and talk about options for engagement, timing, budget, and then we get to map out next steps.

So, what's next? What we want to do is we want to dig into solution selling in this month. And in order to do that, you know, you should set a target of trying to establish five new donor funder contacts in the month of August.

And then the second thing we want to do is do five existing contacts and get caught up with them. And use some of the solution selling technique to try and identify opportunities.

And then our deliverables for the next session is to build that draft pitch deck incorporating in some of the program planning that we've done, the program mapping, what we know we're already going to do.

I'm starting to put in some revenue plan elements and then kind of testing it out with some of those first calls.

So that's the map that we're going to go through now. And what I encourage you to do is create those list of contacts. Start to think about what goes into your pitch deck and then you can move on.


  • Solutions Sell
  • Engage prospects by finding out their biggest needs, priorities and timing
  • Listen first, tailor offer
  • Find patterns in what you are hearing 
  • Unique ESO Channels


Marketing Plan

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