Anyone who builds a product or service knows that they will, at some point, have to sell it.
But many startups hyper-focus on marketing and product development strategies, while paying little attention to sales. This can be a costly mistake.
A sales strategy – unlike one for marketing or product – narrows your focus on one very important aspect of your startup success: making the sale. While marketing strategy focuses on increasing your visibility, a well-defined sales strategy helps you make real quantifiable profits.
A good sales strategy needs to address three important components:
- How will you acquire new customers?
- How will you expand/strengthen existing relationships with customers?
- How will you sell more products and services?
In this article, we’ll discuss three reasons why your startup must have a sales strategy.
Why startups need a sales strategy
1. A sales strategy allows you to address the needs of customers at every stage.
Assisting a new customer requires a different approach than helping current customers. New customers need education about the product features and functionality, while existing customers mostly need assistance or technical support.
Addressing prospects at different points in the sales journey calls for different approaches. Without a strategy in place for this, you will walk in blind and likely fail to produce the best results.
Construct a flowchart or a spreadsheet that lists out all possible stages of your prospect’s journey and mention what ideal steps/strategies should be taken at each stage. Use this as reference for sales conversations with prospects.
2 click over here. A sales strategy improves the ROI of your sales team.
The act of formulating a strategy requires you to take a step back and look at the big picture. You have to ask yourself tough questions like:
- Should I focus more on obtaining new customers or existing ones?
- Is the upselling strategy fetching enough results against the efforts?
- In what areas is the result better than the cost?
As a result, you will see which particular sales tactics are working for you and which aren’t. You can maximize your results by focusing on the areas/techniques that lead to closing more business.
Most startups have severe budget limitations. Having a sales strategy allows you to cut the waste and prioritize to get the most out of your sales budget.
3. A sales strategy enables you to hire the right people.
Hiring is extremely important for startups, especially since most startups have a one- to two-member sales team.
Teams with a sales strategy have well-defined goals and methods. You know exactly what you want to do in the future and so you know exactly what to expect of your sales team.
This clarity allows you to hire people who have the skills and the experience to achieve the goals you set.
6 tips to build your startup sales strategy
Here are some practical tips on how to formulate a strong sales strategy for your startup:
Step 1: Chart the course of your customer journey, both before and after sales. Take time to understand what you are currently doing at each sales interval.
Step 2: Deconstruct the sales journey, research and brainstorm on how and where you can reduce the cost or improve the customer satisfaction. For example, maybe you should do more upselling, maybe you can shift to drip emails instead of phone calls to reach out to prospects, etc.
Step 3: Once you have a profitable sales process in mind, check to see if it integrates with your marketing plan.
Step 4: Identify one key sales activity that will boost your business growth significantly.
Step 5: Define your method and process around this key sales activity. Allocate resources and build your process to maximize the impact of this activity.
Don’t expect immediate gratification for your efforts – sometimes it takes quite a while. Consistency and strategy will win you tremendous results.
This is a guest post by Niraj Ranjan, Founder of Hiver.