9 Sales Strategies to Win Customers for Early Startups
Selling brand new product for early stage startups can be a challenge as their main north star is to grow their customer based. Here are the strategies you can use to overcome this challenge.
Given the fact that there might not be a big marketing budget available, and there is not much sales resources in your hand, startups need to be very focused on their sales strategies on how to win customers in early stage.
Here is are 9 strategies that you can adopt to achieve this:
1. Focused targeted accounts
Focus only on finite list of accounts that you think will be suitable for your product and service. Depending on the nature of your product and the business requirement and the problem your startup solves, you can come up with a list of 5 or 10 potential customers and ONLY work on those accounts. It will be very easy to shift the focus to side ways and waste your sales team energy on orphan opportunities in different segments or industries. But trust me, that is not good for you.
What you want is full peneteration of the focused accounts that are very similar to your first wins , so you can build on your success and strenght. Go all in with these initial list and see if you can achieve a meaningful product-market fit. If not, pivot to another finite list of accounts and move on.
2. Build a personal brand
People buy from the people they know. Consult to an independant personal branding expert and come up with ideas and tools on how to position your sales team as experts and authority in your space. There are lot of free speaking engagements that your team can speak at to spread the word and you can use the pictures on your website and social media to build the brand. Weekly podcasts, blogs, social media engagements, contents and influencers opinion on what you do can play a key role in the process of branding your sales team.
3. Cold call like crazy
The good news is cold calling is not dead yet. Have a targeted list of 20 contacts inside or outside of your targeted account list and have a chat with them. See if they can be a great fit for your product and solutions and go out and have a coffee or beer with them.
4. There is no such a thing as small deal
No matter what the deal size is, go all in. Even if it is a $2k deal, jump all in to win that business. First of all, it is a brand new logo in your customer based. It may cover some of your marketing initiatives to try some new ideas. Plus, do not under estimate the power of words. If you deliver a great experience to your new smaller customers, they will spread the word to bigger ones. Win whatever you can.
5. Hire sales people that are hungry and expert in the field
When it comes to hiring your first sales people, consider these characteristics. They should be hungry for success, money or fame. They should be an expert in the field that your startup is working and coachable. There will be situations that you may need to come up with new ways of selling in terms of messaging, targeted personas etc. If your sales person is not coachable, it will be very hard and near to impossible to pivot the business.
When you go to meetings, use whiteboarding when asking questions. Draw high level architecture of the incunbant solution and the challenges your potential customer has and try to categorize what needs to be done. Try to play the role of a consultant and thinker rather than somebody who cares about the sales.
7. Be a yes person, but not for free
Neve say no to your potential clients. Always say yes to what they want. However, if you need make adjustments or coming up with new features and develop new capabilities in your code, charge them. Simply say that this feature is in our road map but to be able to bring it earlier, you can charge for professional services to build that capability. Nothing is worst that working for free.
8. Find a partner that has your list
There are lot of businesses out there that have your clients. Find out which personas you want to target and see who is already serving these people that is not competing with you. You can use joint marketing events and emails to raise awareness around what you do and generate meaningful leads.
9. Your social media never sleeps
Use one the social media scheduler tools to build an always on and super active social media presence. Post every 30 min or even 15 minutes in as many platforms as you can. The more is better. Mix your posts with other bloggers and websites in your space. You do not need to post all about your products and services. Post about the technology that you in and raise awareness.
Houman Asefi is a sales strategist and recognized authority on digital sales and startups focusing on digital transformation. Follow me on Twitter @houmanasefi, and visit my blog https://www.houmanasefi.com to get the scoop on business trends.