Innovating Sales In The Startup Environment: ATE Sales Program For Entrepreneurs & Startups

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ATE Sales Program proves to be one of the key programs in the Skåne region of Sweden to make the sales process a beneficial challenge for all startups in the long run.

In the present dynamic startup environment, sales skills are a must for any startup to be able to sail smoothly and grow permanently. The need for inspiration and advice has led to a lot of programs and accelerators being created with the specific goal of helping companies succeed in their business. ATE Sales Program proves to be one of the key programs in the Skåne region of Sweden to make the sales process a beneficial challenge for all startups, in the long run.

Nowadays, Sweden stands among the top countries in the world, when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship. Though, in order for viable companies to be able to generate growth, new sales programs and accelerators have been established recently to help companies achieve their goals. Bridging the gap between a startup’s main objectives and the means to achieve their purpose, ATE was created as a sales program made by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs to handle a common issue faced by everyone in the field: how to get sales done.

ATE’s Concept

The initiative ATE Sales Program originally began as a collaboration between Adsensus, Danji and Ideon Innovation, part of Ideon Science Park in Lund, Sweden. From the very start, the main purpose was to bring more Swedish entrepreneurs together and encourage them in creating successful businesses. Since their beginning in 2016, more than 50 startups took part in the program.

When it comes to the background and its beginnings, this sales program originally started as a collaboration with the purpose of refining the process of creative sales. As an outsourced sales organization, Adsensus wanted to focus mainly on inbound and outbound marketing. One of the main sales tools used are: GetAccept, Linkedin Sales Navigator, SalesForce, and Notified – all on a regular basis.

Drawing from a vast experience as a coach in several programs and workshops in, among some sales psychology, social selling, Inbound Marketing and sales meetings, Peter Kuylenstierna, one of the coaches from ATE’s sales team, was more than eager to provide more details about the mission and the main objectives of the program, as well as the process in helping entrepreneurs to achieve their goals and ambitions.

Bold Mission

Since sales organizations have become more and more process-driven, sales operations have gained a significant level of importance in the core process. ATE Sales Program, as a short version of the key concepts, Accelerate, Transform & Execute, focuses more on the personal touch and idea of a startup, “by providing all necessary tools and know-how”, as Peter eagerly affirms in the interview. “One of the challenges of the sales program is to keep delivering top results day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, always bearing in mind the importance of the customer’s experience”, explains Peter.

Some of the major goals of the ATE Sales Program are the way they encourage the sales process in a smarter and faster way, by trying to reach the market through ambition and constant action. According to Peter, also, it’s no longer sufficient only to innovate, in order to maintain a satisfactory quality of daily life; it is important to be aware of the market and focus on selling the specific products or services. “In a startup world where most companies dream of big investments I feel that many have forgotten the customer”, Peter declares further on. Therefore it is vitally necessary to be able to learn about the market’s feedback to the business models, products, and services.

Setting Big Goals

The main contribution the program brings to entrepreneurs is changing their mindset towards sales and marketing. “By shifting the mindset and re-creating the sales process as value driven towards the need of the customer, selling can become joyful”, in Peter’s opinion. Another valuable lesson that founders can learn from the program experience is to prioritize among all opportunities and activities that move one’s business further, while constantly making sure that means to create value and challenge the status quo of the market to exist on the way.

Apart from the existing sales program, ATE’s ambition is to build an accelerator program for the most successful startups that participate. By combining the skills of the entrepreneur with the sales force at Adsensus, having more than 120 sales reps, companies participating will soon be able to reach their full potential. Further to this, “as an accelerator, we strive to compete with Y-Combinator to become the World’s most successful acceleration program,” says Peter.

But then “Why is 99% of all entrepreneur’s greatest dream to get funded? Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if their first priority was to establish a customer financed business?” This is one important question that comes to the mind of everyone behind the program. As Peter mentions, the startups that participate in the program are customer financed and they can keep the majority ownership of their business, but there is also the possibility for ATE’s sales team to be hired as consultants if there are startups looking for capital and wanting to engage someone else in the sales process.

Intense 6 Week Program

ATE’s sales program takes place during a timeframe of approximately 6 weeks. At this point, long-term goals of the startup are being settled and established, so-called SMART lagging goals, so that everyone can work together in reaching those goals. Afterward, the leading goals from the side of the team are being revised, by setting concrete actions every week with a progressive mindset. Then, the structure and execution of the business plan (Market Segmentation, Pitch, System Setup, Strategy) follow closely. After this stage, a few weeks of diverse workshops follow, some of which are learning to set real and valid sales targets, effective sales meetings, online marketing. The final stage is about working operatively with sales generating activities, by including weekly meetings, calls, marketing campaigns, selling activities and appointments that complete the overall picture of the sales program. Currently, the Sales Program in Lund is open for application. Once the ATE team reviews the application of the participant, an interview is scheduled. According to Peter’s perspective, evaluating the skills of new team members means three important things that should be taken into account: integrity, intelligence, and energy, in order to persevere in the startup environment.

When asked about a startup that ATE would like to support in the future, the choice was Hearezanz, due to their vision and highly innovative and complex product that is bound to improve the experience of any hearing device on the market, but also support individually optimized sound experiences to people all around the world.



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