Automation and scalability are two concepts that all of us startuppers are constantly hearing. The relationship between them can be explained by the fact that the former helps achieve the latter, and I say ‘helps’ because we often think that simply by applying elements of automation you can become more scalable. Nevertheless, that shouldn’t be the debate, so let’s switch it up: can we scale our business model without a certain degree of automation? Are we able to identify the processes that provide greater and lesser value to our business? And more importantly, if we have identified these processes, how are we able to generate scalability by automating them?

In this article, we will look at some of the key processes that can generate scalability in a startup and the tools that will help us to do so. I will mainly focus on the area of outbound customer acquisition, where I will mention some tools that will definitely help you achieve this much desired scalability.


Outbound Sales

Outbound sales can be understood as the commercial process of contacting potential customers in order to generate interest and sell a company’s products/services. Colloquially speaking: going out to sell. In these cases, it’s the founder, sales director, sales team and SDRs who come into contact with potential customers.

This type of role is often associated with the “classic” salesperson who would cold call hundreds of companies and believe that their sales pitch was enough to generate a meeting or even close a deal. However, the paradigm is changing (and in the case of some startups it has for some time now), and this new process is beginning to be understood as a rational one with analysable data and defined and measurable steps and objectives, of which finding the key to scalability is crucial.

In the earlier stages of a startup (pre-seed, seed and even early stage) it’s usually the founders themselves, especially if they have a business vocation, or employees who have joined the company very early on and are close to the founding team who look for potential customers, make the pitch, close the deal, and subsequently obtain feedback to improve or enhance part of the product or service. As the startup enters the Growth phase, it is advisable for the sales department to specialise, either with the dedication of a founder in that specific area or by hiring talent that has already gone through this process in the past.

Between this Growth phase and the following Scale phase, the professionalisation of the sales team has to be incredible. In the vast majority of cases, the entrance of external capital finances the growth or even hyper-growth of startups, for example: “we have a presence in markets and thanks to the entrance of capital we will spread to 6 markets” or “we have 150 customers and with external money we are going to triple this figure”.

This phenomenon of external investment that we see linked to growth in sales (and also product management) teams is a perfect moment to consider the tools that can help generate the much-desired scalability. It isn’t a question of having a team of 10 people selling 10 units and hiring another 20 people to sell 20 more; the trick is to make my sales team capable of selling 50 units with these 20 people. Moreover, what we will manage is to generate efficiency from this invested capital. 

Fortunately, the entrepreneurial ecosystem has experienced great quantitative and qualitative growth that has not only aided the creation of thousands of startups, but also of satellite solutions and tools for these startups that help consolidate their business model, generate recurring revenue and attract more customers. Therefore, being aware of these solutions will allow us to go much faster, eliminate processes that do not add value and make better data-driven decisions.

From my point of view, this is achieved by having the following set of solutions: Outbound sales tools, CRMs, and Data & Analytics tools linked to these customer acquisition processes. Let’s not forget that in order to attract customers, it’s essential to have previously defined your target, whether you are focused on B2B or B2C.

scale a startup's outbound sales strategy


Outbound sales tools

Let’s get started, how do we find and contact the decision-maker?

When we are talking about B2B sales, we mostly define the target company and then look for the decision-makers to approach. However, the problem that every entrepreneur faces is not having the contact details of these decision-makers. For this, we have many tools such as, Lusha or ZoomInfo.

These 3 tools are defined as “lead management software designed to help businesses collect lead contact details from various websites, record lead information, interact with customers or prospects and improve overall conversion rates”.

Applying it to the much more practical field, with these tools we can avoid previously contacting companies until we get the decision maker’s information; a process that doesn’t add value to the sales team or to the company and instead wears it out. What it allows us is to go much faster, generate more meetings, more sales opportunities and, of course, more sales. Other alternatives to these three tools are:, Phantom Buster, Kloser, SignalHire, Salesintel and Salesflare.

Once we have found the decision maker, what is the best method of contact?

Great! We have already found the email, contact phone number or LinkedIn profile of the person we are going to “woo” with our solution, but now we have to contact this decision-maker in order to turn this lead into a real sales opportunity.

In an idyllic world, with just one message or call we would close a meeting in which we could make a demo, or in just two meetings we could better understand what their needs are and explain how our product or service will be able to satisfy them. However, this is not the case and we must be aware that a good follow up is everything in this part of the sales process. But, does following up add value? Is it a scalable process to be sending messages every 4 days manually? In my opinion, no. The sales team should focus on knowing the customer’s problems and needs, not on doing repetitive processes with no learning or feedback and therefore no room for improvement.

For these situations, I recommend using tools that allow us to generate different sequences for each of the communication channels through which we will try to generate that first interest in our buyer persona within the company. These channels are mainly LinkedIn and emails (if we have the email of the decision maker).

For the first case where we use LinkedIn as the main recruitment channel, tools such as Lead Jet or Hoko BI allow us to generate automatic sequences as if it were a CRM. In this way, the sales team can be much more focused on finding potential leads than on repeatedly writing down reminders to contact customers who have not replied to them.

Other tools that can help a lot in the generation of meetings are Outreach, Salesloft or, which define themselves as “intuitive sales automation platforms” that add the prospecting part that we talked about earlier as well as the contact part.

Great! Not only do we have a solid database of potential customers to “attack”, but we have also managed to contact them and generate meetings to convert them into sales. However, we aren’t converting in the way we wanted to. This is another of the critical points that occurs in the scalability processes of a startup’s sales. When there is only the founder or sales manager, the pitch that is made to the buyer usually “comes from the heart”, but as the team grows, it becomes much more complex to transmit the pitch or the processes, so it’s key not only to have a sales PlayBook but also Data & Analytics tools that help to provide knowledge to new team members and measure their performance. Watch out! This is not about seeing who sells more or less, it’s about understanding where the key points are that must be improved or enhanced within the process. 

And now, how do I generate the first playbook of sales pitches and processes?

What may seem a tedious job at first is absolutely key to ensure the scalability of a company. Nowadays we have tools that can be very useful such as Loom, Vidyard or Streamcast, with which you can record your own screen and explain in a simple way both your sales pitch as well as your sales tool use and processes. How many times has it happened to you that the training for new employees is more about internal tools than about understanding the market or the client? Thanks to these tools we can generate training content “Created once, consumed thousands”. Not only do we have recording tools, but we can also create manuals automatically thanks to tools such as UpHint, StepShot or Dokit.

This is also scalability, even if it is not so much in the forefront of our minds. And it will help to improve processes throughout the sales cycle.

And now that we have all the sales processes defined, it is time to understand whether the sales team is carrying them out correctly.

A CEO or Sales Manager can be exhaustively reviewing every action of the sales team down to the last millimetre; that is an option. But is it scalable to listen to all the calls made by all the SDRs or Account Executives in a team? Can we focus on business development if we are only looking at what is happening in our organisation rather than looking at what is happening in the market?

In order to work well, in addition to reviewing the team’s work and focusing on business development we can also rely on tools that will help in this process of growth and scalability. Probably the dichotomy between review vs. growth is one of the most difficult aspects to manage. Therefore, tools such as Modjo, Virtual Observer, Wigman, Five9 or Ringover allow those responsible for sales teams and customer experience to measure everything related to processes and sales arguments much more quickly and reliably.

One of the keys to automating processes even more is the interaction of all the tools for acquisition, communication, content creation and measurement, all of which are related in the same place. This is where a good CRM becomes vitally important for any start-up that wants to centralise its information to the maximum and rely on it for decision-making. In fact, the vast majority of the tools mentioned above have direct integration with the main CRMs: HubSpot, Salesforce and PipeDrive.

In my view, a CRM doesn’t just have to give you an insight into campaign management or customer communication – if you’ll pardon the expression “that’s like bravery in soldiers, it’s taken for granted”. The huge gap that companies using a CRM have is the Data & Analytics part.

Number of sales activities at each stage of the process, customer feedback, average tickets, MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue), ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue), average sales times or after-sales tickets, are just a few examples of the large amount of data that can be obtained thanks to good CRM management. This is where the figure of a good Head of Sales Ops comes in, capable of understanding the sales process from start to finish, the relationship between the customer and potential customer with the company and taking all of this to a series of intelligent KPIs that help manage the business in a much more sustainable and scalable way.

Investing in tools that generate scalability is investing in the growth of the company.




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