Generating a winning sales strategy for B2B startups is one of the most important things or maybe the most important thing a startup can do. Some might say having a sellable product would be the most important, but really unless there is a customer willing to try it out and pay for it, what does it matter. Classic what came first story here – product (the chicken), or the purchase (the egg).
I solicited input from the entire team here to help write this blog and the feedback was excellent. Below you will find some of the key items we believe will help you drive those early wins:
- Target the right companies and contacts – understand your buyer persona and their business pain.
- Reach those targets live – emailing is great and can set the stage but what is really powerful is calling people and getting them on the phone. We are finding it more and more true that senior executives are so buried with email, the act of calling is coming back to the forefront. We have a few clients I can think of now that if it weren’t for the team making outbound calls we would not have secured prospecting meetings.
- Timing matters – at any given point in time people have different needs and so do your buyers. So part of the success of selling is being what I like to refer to as “politely present” at the time a decision is going to be made. As an example, if you are selling an ERP solution, not everyone you are targeting is looking for an ERP today. So you need to continue to stay in touch with them so when they do have a need, they remember you. Hopefully by making enough calls and emails, you can find an early adopter or two that you can convince to give your solution a shot.
- Don’t let too much time pass – this is between your initial prospecting call and your next wave of touches.
- Another good one is “find fast, fail fast” – this basically means that the sooner you can get a no, the better, move on to that next yes.
- Be attentive – I think all of us like to be given the warm and fuzzies that we are important and our purchase matters. For startups this is absolutely key. You need to be very attentive to your early adopters and work to make them reference champions.
- Service, Service, Service – excellence in service and delivering on time and being communicative means the world to people. If they are making an investment in you and your tech, then you better take really good care of them if you want them to stay and refer.
- Sense of urgency in your communication – if you can, try to instill a sense of urgency in the purchase. This could be the result of some external pressures the company is facing such as a legislative change or market shift.
- Offer things like trials or incentives to get them using the tool with the goal of having them get “hooked”. You could also offer 18 months for the price of 12 in their first year as an incentive for taking a risk with you.
Be creative and know that these early wins are worth far more than just the revenue attributed them. They provide credibility, references and revenue. All three. These will all be tactics you can leverage as you grow.
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