For any startup, generating revenue early in the business lifecycle can be difficult and oftentimes will take longer than you ever expected.
You'll see yourself go through numerous iterations of your product, your pricing model, and your go-to-market plan and still be working to close your first sale.
It's important not to be discouraged. You need to be prepared mentally and financially for the length of time it will take to close sales and for cash to start flowing. Be patient, persistent and focused and recognize that in most B2B sales scenarios, the sales cycle will vary depending on a number of factors, including the complexity of the sale, selling price, or the budget of the customer.
Here's an example of this that I love to share. On a first day of cold calling for a new client, I was able to secure a meeting that led to a six figure proposal that closed. It was a great win. The more interesting component is that from that first call to completion of the project, the process took over 10 months. Payment of the final invoice took another 4 to 6 weeks.
Selling horizontally for most B2B businesses is difficult and time consuming. It's important to zero in on a few markets to start and get a foothold. Expand from there. Selling to a few specific verticals or sectors can be a more effective and efficient way to start as it allows you to focus your time and efforts.
Top Startup Sales Tips
Here's 9 easy to remember (and actionable) startup sales tips to remember to ensure your revenues are growing consistently:
- Develop an actionable sales plan with goals
- Utilize a CRM system (such as Salesforce.com) and use it religiously
- Network, network, network
- Offer samples, trials, pilots with the expectation that if they go well the prospect will continue through your funnel
- As the owner, dedicate time daily to selling
- Hire a great sales or marketing person or outsource to a company specializing in sales and marketing
- Maintain persistent and consistent effort over time
- Engage in marketing activities to drive users and inbound leads
- Leverage the power of social media as part your sales process and inbound marketing
Hopefully these simple startup sales tips will help you keep your revenues strong and growing. Should you require assistance with your startup sales, marketing or social media efforts, please call. We would be happy to help. For more great insight into startup sales and marketing strategies and tactics, feel free to sign up for our monthly newsletter or follow us on Twitter.