MARK SUSTER: Every Startup Needs a Sales Methodology…Here’s Mine


Mark Suster, partner at GRP Partners, wants you to know that he wasn’t always the startup shark you see today. Back in 1999, all he had was an idea, and enough gumption to convince customers of his quality solution in the ‘evangelical phase.’

More importantly, he made enough mistakes to know that a sales methodology is crucial to ensure your team communicates a consistent message, according to a recent blog post. His particular message, PUCKA, breaks down thusly:

Pain  — Where is the need for the product? And how badly do consumers and/or enterprises need your solution?

Unique Selling Proposition — How can your product help salve the pain point, especially if there are already competitors in the market?

Compelling Event — What are the external factors that push people to buy your product? Market conditions usually precede a ‘compelling event’ — just be sure to show consumers how they are losing business or money, and why they should buy NOW.

Champion — The person in a company who takes the lead on implementing your product. Find the champions, and evangelize the heck out of them.

Key Players — Everyone else involved in the sales process, from ‘enemies’ to sponsors to technical experts. Basically, don’t just spend all your time with the champion — you want to touch as many influence points as possible.

Aligned Purchasing Process — This is the fine art of lining up your customer’s need to buy with your need to sell. There are always a million factors that can go wrong in a sales process — make sure you’re on top of the details (budget, inventory, product development) so you can identify as soon as a product is needed.