The reason you become an entrepreneur is to do business. And one critical aspect about business is getting customers for the product or service you wish to offer to them. Often we see founders who are not from a sales background of orientation, and therefore are not comfortable ‘selling’. However, whether an entrepreneur lies it or not, they have to be good at ‘selling’.
By sales we don’t mean just transactional sales. We mean the ability to convince others about the concept, the value proposition, the plan etc. An entrepreneur does not sell only to customers. He/she has to ‘sell the concept’ to investors, vendors, partners, early employees, parents, early customers etc.
However, an entrepreneur may not enjoy doing customer/consumer sales, or may not be good at cold calling, or negotiating, or paper work, etc. And that’s OK. As long as you acknowledge what you can and cannot do, or are not keen to do, an entrepreneur could be excused from the sales function. However, in the initial phases of the startup, there will be none better than the entrepreneur to passionately communicate the value proposition of the product/service, and give the potential customers the confidence that his team will deliver.
In the initial phases, entrepreneurs must lead the sales process, or at least be the face of the organization, even if another employee is leading the sales efforts operationally.
Moreover, whether the entrepreneur does the actual sale process, or has a team that does sales, one of the founders MUST be responsible for meeting the sales numbers.