The product doesn’t sell itself, or How Sales Hub came into existence in UP21

Our startups, Interview
The idea that customers are able to find quality products on their own is unfortunately a misconception - disillusioned startup founders often figure this out when it’s almost too late and the money from their first major investment is already running out. “Founders don’t want to actively sell their products, as the field of sales in the Czech Republic has a terrible stigma, but really it’s a completely natural part of the sales relationship,” says Alan Vyšín, co-founder and CEO of the startup Gettick, who took the situation into their own hands and launched a project in UP21 called Sales Hub.

Could you briefly explain what Sales Hub is?

Sales Hub is a project which helps other startups incubated in UP21 increase their sales. We motivate each other, share contacts for potential clients, and help each other improve our sales skills. Since we’re all sitting together in one place, we’re basically a sales department. The only difference is that we’re each selling our own product.

What made you want to start Sales Hub?

I think that sales is a huge problem for almost every young company, especially for tech startups. It is often the founder who takes the roll of salesman upon him or herself, which makes sense, as they know the most about the company and the product. But one person doing sales doesn’t really work very well.

They often lose motivation, as many founders are shy to make sales calls in front of their team. In short, sales is an activity which yields the best results when it is done in a larger collective of other salesmen. Two other startups in UP21 felt the same way – Nutrition Pro and SENS– and as soon as we got a dedicated office for Sales Hub we put them to work.

Alan Vyšín, co-founder and CEO of Gettick

How are the preliminary results?

Excellent! I can’t cite exact numbers from the other companies, but in Gettick, a month after launching Sales Hub, we got five-fold results when compared to the previous month. I also realized that as a founder, it’s important for me to not spend most of my time with my development team, and to instead spend as much time as possible in contact with clients.

You immediately get a different perspective on your own product and firm, you take on the role of a customer and gain insight into the small details they tend to concern themselves with. The more insight on improvements I get from the customers, the more accurately I can prioritize development requirements, implement changes quickly, and guide us towards better business results.

Could you be a bit more specific as to how Sales Hub helps? After all, you’re the one who owns the startup. You’re not lacking a common business goal?

Yes, we each want to sell our own product, but the goal is the same – better business results. That’s why even though the success of one of us doesn’t directly help the others, we give ourselves financial goals, we have regular meetings, where we evaluate who met them and who didn’t and why, we help each other with defining value propositions, and in the end we give each other feedback on things such as body language during a call.

The fact that we’re all in different businesses helps us in the end. When five salesmen sit in one place with the goal of selling one product, they eventually lose perspective and their ability to look at the sales process objectively. That’s not a problem we have in Sales Hub.

Alan Vyšín, CEO of Gettick and Vítek Šubert CEO of UP21

So what’s next? Do you have any plans moving forward?

So far we’ve been leaving it open, as Sales Hub isn’t even two months old. In the next year we’re going to give it more structure, set up basic processes, and hopefully get a more exact idea of how we can help startups in UP21 long term.

Is there a chance that Sales Hub will open up to startups outside of UP21’s incubation program?

So far we’re not planning on it, but we’re also not ruling it out. We’ll be wiser by the end of the year, and until then we’ll be testing everything out and looking at the results.

Alan Vyšín, CEO and Co-founder of startup Gettick.