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    How to Build a Sales Consultancy that Smashes Through Barriers to Explosive Growth

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    When we started working with SalesStar, they were a small New Zealand sales consultancy with a team of six people. They’re now a sales transformation company employing 70 people with locations all over the world. They’ve doubled their revenue every year since 2019, and expect to do so again this year.

    We recently caught up with SalesStar’s CEO and founder, Paul O’Donahue, to learn more about how they’ve done it and the advice Paul would give to other sales companies seeking to scale their business.

    The SalesStar Story

    SalesStar is a sales transformation company that empowers businesses around the world to scale and grow their sales operations with proven processes and strategies. They’re an award-winning team of experienced salespeople, business people, and trainers who are passionate about the profession of selling and raising the performance and results of sales organizations.

    When I first met Paul, it was obvious we were aligned in our approach to sales. Like me, he was focused on elevating the sales profession. Like me, he saw that a milestone-based sales process was a key component to improving sales effectiveness. Like me, he understood the importance of coaching to the process.

    He immediately saw the value that Membrain could bring to his organization and their plans for growth, as well as the alignment between our companies.

    “We’ve been delighted with Membrain because first and foremost, they share some values with us,” Paul says. “They definitely feel like our tribe - aligned with our values.”

    New partners had sales cycles of 84 days and we helped them bring it down to 32.
    Paul O'Donohue

    He says he also saw early on that the way his company teaches clients to build a milestone-centric sales process was a perfect match for the way Membrain is built.

    “Membrain was the first time I saw a technology that helps support sales process and coaching to the process,” he says. “It enables us to have a really good pipeline and to forecast accurately, to have the right metrics in place, and the right visibility to what is going to drive the business forward.”

    How to Achieve Explosive Growth

    In 2019, SalesStar had 24 people. Today, it has 70. They have a head office in Auckland, New Zealand, and offices in Sydney, the UK, Sweden, the US, and Mexico. Since 2019, they have doubled their revenue every year, and expect to continue to double every year for the next four years and possibly beyond.

    That kind of growth doesn’t come without challenges. Every level of scale brings new complexities. I asked Paul to share the keys to overcoming the challenges and achieving scale.

    His answer:

    • First and foremost, really sound strategy
    • Second, the ability to execute on the strategy
    • Systems
    • Processes
    • Good management
    • Ability to onboard new people effectively

    Paul says that Membrain has been instrumental in supporting all aspects of scaling, but especially with executing on strategy.

    How to Scale with Membrain

    While SalesStar uses Membrain for its clients to execute on their proven sales processes, they also use it internally, and that’s where it’s truly served them in scaling up.

    “Membrain reinforces what we train our people on,” says Paul. “It helps them follow each step in the process, and it helps coaches enable them through the process.”

    Within their instance of Membrain, they have set up a CEO Dashboard that enables the leadership to see every key metric in the company at a high level, as well as to drill down to granular levels. He can see every KPI and every salesperson, so he can easily see where they’re following the process and where they need help. When there’s a problem, he can determine whether it’s a problem with the person or the process. If the person is struggling, it’s easy to see where they need help.

    Membrain serves as the one source of truth within the business, holding the data to which everyone is held accountable.

    Additionally, it allows them to put the right collateral in the right places so salespeople are sending out collateral at the right times in the sales process through the content hub.

    “We’ve used Membrain to ramp up new people, but also, to hold up a mirror to improve our sales effectiveness,” says Paul. “We’ve got full visibility, and can see everything clearly, even things that are difficult to find in other CRM systems.”

    Adding Practice Partners is Key

    SalesStar has grown by strategically partnering with practices all over the world to implement SalesStar’s proven processes. With each new partnership, SalesStar gains new locations and clients, and the practice partner gains the benefits of SalesStar’s growth formula.

    “In some cases,” says Paul, “New practice partners came to us with sales cycles of 84 days and we helped them bring it down to 32. We can more than halve the sales cycle for them. In other cases, they’ve tripled effectiveness from single digits to 37% closing from discovery meeting.”

    Because of Membrain, SalesStar can measure and coach the right things to get their practice partners fully onboarded to the SalesStar way, and then execute the SalesStar way to clients.

    Gamification Makes it Fun

    SalesStar uses the CEO Dashboard inside Membrain to gamify and create a competitive spirit within their sales teams. Everyone can easily see how they measure on key indicators, against everyone else in the company. This encourages everyone to compete to improve their rankings on each important measure, while enabling coaches to coach to each person’s needs.

    Membrain Enables “Rinse and Repeat”

    “One of the reasons we’ve been able to scale is that we take Membrain and use it to ‘rinse and repeat’ our process with each new practice partner,” says Paul. “It’s a huge part of our success, the ability to integrate Membrain into our core offering and then to live and breathe inside that platform.”

    Thanks to this “rinse and repeat” approach, SalesStar is looking to take on 8 new practices this year and doubling every year for the foreseeable future.

    Repeatable processes and fast scale-up has also positioned SalesStar’s leadership for an effective exit strategy. Paul says he’s currently open to finding the right strategic buyer, and expects to do so sometime in the next four years.

    “We’ve productized services and digitalized the whole business,” he says. “That makes the business both scalable and attractive to buyers.”

    I asked him if there’s anything else he would want folks to know, and he wanted to talk about Membrain:

    “Membrain is easy to partner with,” he says. “They have a can-do attitude and really think through things pragmatically. They’re a really good strategic partner for us, and we value them highly.”

    We are proud and honored to partner with such a stellar organization as SalesStar, and we would love to partner with you. Contact our sales teams to find out if we’re the right partner for you.

    George Brontén
    Published August 17, 2022
    By George Brontén

    George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.

    Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn