A background in sales helped Carrie Morgan identify a gap in the market, to help companies improve their sales skills without hours of training.
What did you do before you started this business?
I worked in enterprise sales for Hewlett-Packard, selling datacentre technology and software to corporates across the country. Sales and account management were great training roles for starting my own business, providing me with skills to secure a steady flow of customers, and understand how to create compelling commercial propositions. It also helped working in a technical environment because the main business, The Sales Way, focuses on content marketing for technology companies.
What inspired you to start up?
Tech companies are very good at developing new technology and products, but often struggle to move the conversation to a business outcome focus. Founders or sales teams are usually so technical it is difficult to move the conversation away from what they are comfortable with. I recognised this during my corporate job and saw an opportunity to set up The Sales Way, to help tech companies get their message across through sales playbooks and content marketing services.
Tell us about your business in 100 words
There are two sides to the business. The Sales Way is three years old now, and we offer content marketing for B2B tech companies, creating blogs, social media shares, whitepapers, case studies and sales playbooks. We are also launching My Sales Academy – an online resource hub for B2B sales reps with templates and guides for meeting planning, account planning and more. This gives organisations their own sales academy that they can offer out to their sales teams to increase their sales skills without the corny training.
How would you describe your business to your grandma?
We help companies to better engage with customers by creating interesting content for their audience to consume, rather than trying to sell ‘at’ prospects. We have particular expertise in the technology space so we primarily focus on complex sectors such as technology, manufacturing and engineering. The new My Sales Academy solution helps companies to improve their sales reps’ sales skills without hours of training – there are lots of tools and templates to increase sales teams’ capabilities.
Where do you get advice, support or help?
We were lucky enough to be accepted on to the Entrepreneurial Spark business accelerator programme, and are now entering our second year. We have benefited hugely from invaluable Enabler support and mentorship offered on the programme. It’s fantastic being surrounded by other likeminded entrepreneurs in the Manchester Hub too, there is always someone to bounce ideas off.
Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?
I bootstrapped the business, and aim to fund the development of My Sales Academy through our existing business. We are careful about the decisions we make, and understand how investment could benefit us...
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I won Entrepreneur of the Moment at the Manchester Entrepreneurial Spark awards in 2016 and invested the £10,000 prize fund into growing the team and developing My Sales Academy.
How do you differentiate your business from others?
We’re very specialised – it’s not about fluffy marketing – it’s about technical information translated into business outcomes. We spend a long time understanding what our customers do and the services they offer to tailor our approach. We are also looking at integrating the next disruptive trends into what we do – if we see something happening in the B2C space that could be good for B2B then we start investigating.
What’s it like to be your own boss?
It’s great – the main thing I love is being able to see a new business opportunity and act on it. In a corporate job, there can be a lot of red tape to get things changed, here I can spin up a new website in minutes or change our services to suit new client needs. It’s liberating and means we deliver a more flexible and improved service to our clients.
Where do you see your business in 5 years time?
To not be in an office – we love being in co-working spaces and want to maintain that with our team working remotely, or in a co-working space to keep that ‘Entrepreneurial Spark’ alive. My Sales Academy will have been launched with customers across the globe by then, and the services side of the business will complement the online resource portal.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Success or progress doesn’t happen overnight. It might take three months, it might take three years. Don’t believe all you read about start-ups achieving wild success in a short space of time. It does happen, but the majority have to work away at it for years to build sustainable and secure growth. That’s how we do it – sustainable and secure growth – because it’s less risky for us, but also for our customers.