The Indian startup ecosystem is one of the fastest growing in the world. It is not only young but also has some of the most riveting entrepreneurial mavericks at the helm of affairs. As per reports, India is the fourth largest startup base in the world — over 4,000 startups are registered and this number is expected to reach 12,000 by 2020. The scenario is similar worldwide as well, with startups mushrooming in every corner of the globe.
Since the beginning, the startup ecosystem has focused heavily on GMV, i.e. Gross Merchandise Value; however, with time and increasing competition, there is a visible bent towards quick profitability. With infrastructure development taking a backseat and establishing a raison d’être becoming more important, it has become all the more imperative for startups to reflect profit and accrue more ROIs in shorter time spans. This is where customised sales enablement tools come to the rescue and hence are gradually finding increased adoption.
Sales enablement or tactics enabling sales supports the startups to surmount challenges pertaining to sales impact, optimisation of ROIs, incremental revenues among others and stimulate their rise as a profitable venture within the expected timeline. Supported by a multitude of strategies, sales enablement helps startups sustain and achieve their goals in the fast-paced world marked by fierce competition and ever-evolving technology.
In recent times, as per the Grant Thornton and ASSOCHAM report, the Indian startup network has taken off, driven by factors such as obtainability of capital, consolidation activities by a number of firms, evolving technology space, and a burgeoning demand within the domestic market. However, these are often the very parameters on account of which startups stumble on their path towards growth. And, these are also the parameters which are taken care of by sales enablement companies, hence helping the startup ecosystem grow. There are a couple of important stages/aspects in the sales process where sales enablement comes to the rescue of startups.
- Execution strategy: Any enterprise, whether a startup or an industrial stalwart, cannot function without an execution strategy. A sound strategy/action plan inevitably facilitates a number of engagements and desired outcomes. Though startups may have a marketable product, without a well-detailed execution strategy they run the risk of falling flat. This is where sales enablement strategies come to their rescue. In a study conducted by Demand Metric, about 75 percent of enterprises reported that sales enablement made a moderate or significant contribution to their sales forces, and 88 percent with effective sales enablement functions classified their organisations as "very strategic."
- Recruitment: A good workforce is the primary ingredient for any successful organisation. When so much thought and energy has gone into nurturing the idea a startup is based on, one cannot afford to hire a set of people who do not have the right amount of passion, vision, and capability. A well-researched recruitment drive is crucial to making sure that the startup idea/ concept is in the right hands. With low or negligible expertise in this aspect, startups often struggle to get the right mix of people. Sales strategies comprising competitive competency mapping techniques provide the requisite talent pool. It’s like giving fuel supply to a standing engine.
- Skilling: The startup ecosystem is equivalent to dynamism raised to the power of hundred. This dynamism translates into constant learning and up-skilling of the workforce as well. With limited infrastructure, this again is a challenge for startups to accomplish. Skilling and training is an important component of sales strategies. With the eventual aim of empowering the enterprise or the startup, sales enablement carries out skill training using various tools/functions. Training regarding classroom models, e-learning, on-the-job, self-running modules etc. are important. Additionally, introduction to sales force automation and various other robust sales tools etc. acts like a spring board for any startup.
- Technology: In the 21st century, technology is the driving force behind every business operation. With the plethora of technology solutions available, effective sales strategies help startups to remain credible and efficacious, which ultimately lead to higher ROIs. Implementing technologies such as mobility, analytics, cloud, content-rich systems, etc. provides an explosion of data, transforms sales, and enables buyers and sellers to engage in more productive ways. As per a study by Salesforce Research, high-performing sales teams are three times more likely to use technology to accelerate sales processes and free up time-to-sell in comparison to their non-technology-using counterparts. The new age technology solutions sales enablement provides startups with act as an important enabler for them.
- Content: A very crucial step for startups is content development and marketing, which not only provides succinct factual data but also diversity in terms of industry knowledge. This goes a long way, especially as most buyers have the first interface with the startup via the content platform. Creating relevant and impactful content requires the use of metrics to gather insightful information from data. With varied set of offerings, sales enablement provides tools like analytics which can also highlight the pieces of content that are more effective in comparison to others, thus helping enterprises to work and improve on the ones that are not as competent. Effective content can help in making informed decisions, and thus, aid the sales teams in their efforts.
- Market activation: With the help of effective sales strategies, startups can work on insight-based and well-thought-through integrated campaigns which are able to make it stand out in the crowd. Sales enablement acts like a clutter cutter for startups which are at a vulnerable stage, owing to their real-time market inexperience. Market activation is core strength of sales enablement which startups can benefit from.
- Analytics: Every company, whether a startup or not, evolves over a period of time. The need then arises of periodic evaluation and measurement of each and every effort and then continuous evolution based on that. Analytics provides intelligent and high-value content, which subsequently helps in converting huge quantum of data into actionable insights. Data-driven insights help improve sales and thus, increase ROI. Gradually, startups can start using predictive analytics to tailor the product to meet the customer’s needs. With analytics, startups can also discover the best business opportunities, improve trade forecasting accuracy, identify and manage risk effectively, gauge the performance of its representatives, etc.
In a nutshell, with every roadblock that a startup faces, there is a competent offering from sales enablement which helps it rise through those stages. Every startup requires a customised solution and sales enablement, with rich expertise across domains, provides an integral and effective tailor-made solution. This unique aspect of customisation of sales enablement coupled with the pre-set strategies is what capacitates the startup ecosystem.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)