VC Due Diligence: Map Your Sales Process to Your Customers’ Buying Process

January 9, 2012

This is the third post in a series about the things venture capitalists look for when they perform due diligence of an expansion stage company’s sales organization. To read the intro to the series, click here. To read the first and second posts, click here and here.

If you’ve been keeping tabs on this series (if not, check out the links above to catch up on previous posts), you’ll remember that I’m exploring the handful of things that venture capitalists look for in a startup or expansion stage software company’s sales process when they perform due diligence prior to making an investment.

So, let’s say you’ve hit a home run with the first two; your company possesses a clear understanding of its target market segments and you have a firm grasp on your target buyer personas.

That’s fantastic. You might have some VCs salivating to sign a term sheet with you.


But the truth is that why mapping the sales process to the buying process is so important:

“Many of the world’s best sales forces are the best because they have codified and developed a documented sales process. Having a map of the things we as salespeople have to do to make a sale provides a framework for sales planning and activity that reduces mistakes and shortens new hire ramp-up time… (And if we’re) armed with a thorough understanding of the steps and stages of our customer’s buying process, we can plan our work accordingly. Then every single move we make can be made with the specific intent of enabling or empowering our client to take the next step they need to take in order to buy.”

The bottom line is that, at the expansion stage, venture capitalists are betting on real revenue and the future ability to scale, rather than an idea that could deliver those things.

So, if we see a company that has structured its sales process around key target market segments and buyer personas, and has mapped all of that to the buying process, the due diligence process will be about as pain free as you could hope for.

SVP Marketing & Sales

<strong>Brian Zimmerman</strong> was a Partner at OpenView from 2006 until 2014. While at OpenView he worked with our portfolio executive teams to deliver the highest impact value-add consulting services, primarily focused on go-to-market strategies. Brian is currently the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at <a href="">5Nine Software</a>.