Sales can make or break any business and there is no benefit of doubt for startups.Anand Rajendran
Sales can make or break any business and there is no benefit of doubt for startups. Many would think that sales process can’t be a priority when starting a business, but here’s an eye opener – interestingly starting up a business is the best time to put in the sales process in place.
As per the studies, companies that have a basic process in place grow 15 per cent faster than those who don’t. To add more to it, companies that implement multiple types of sales process management do extremely well.
If you are running a startup and wanting to put the sales process in place then these 15 steps will be a worth read:
Being a salesperson
Embracing salesmanship is the first step of putting the sales process for a startup in place. Even the brightest of the people turn pale when it comes to sales. So, first understanding that selling is a reality that everybody engages in every day is the first step towards learning salesmanship.
Setting sales goals/objectives
For startups, it is quite essential to have defined sales objective from the beginning. Not just that you also need to align the marketing objectives with the sales objectives to churn maximum benefits.
You can start with ensuring that you have properly aligned sales objective by evaluating the process, all the departments, process and how it supports your sales objective.
Connect with customers through CRM
There are chances when customers give their nod in the very first meeting with your sales person. Connecting with your potential customers is quite important. You can serve a customer or follow a lead when you know and understand what exactly the customer is looking for. CRM comes handy here, you can have a system to capture and store the back out relationship information.
This captured information might not be as helpful today, but they can be good leads for the future. In the future, you can revisit them and offer your services.
Customers that fit the bill
The biggest mistake one can do is to sell the services/solution to each and everyone. The right way is to focus on the right potential customers who fit the bill. You can do your research by knowing about the needs of your customers. Providing trials and demos can further make your sales meeting positive.
Short and crisp demos/trials
Showing a demo of your product, service or solution can take you closer to crack a deal, but it can also waste a lot of energy and cost involved in trials. To combat this issue, one can keep the demos short, crisp and available only for those customers who have shown interest in the product/service. Providing month long or fortnightly trials is a big no-no, people who have to step back usually do it in a couple of days. So, providing trial for few days or maximum a week can do the trick. You can also go the ‘no free trial’ way.
Keeping a track of your leads
The biggest mistakes that small businesses make is not having a proper system for keeping a track of their sales leads. Having a Customer Relationship Management system is a blessing as it helps in keeping the track of the leads with information on the conversations, evaluation, how likely they are to buy, the response given during follow ups even reminders can be set to prompt you for further discussions.
Just in case, you don’t have a comprehensive Customer Relationship Management system, then maintaining a spreadsheet with similar topics can help. You can mark the sections in different colours. The spreadsheet can be updated from time to time.
Fueling the digital campaign
Having a killer digital campaign can be a great help or otherwise people backout as soon as they enroll for your trial. Doing the following things can get you maximum results from your dip campaign.
- Use of authentic email address: Using a genuine email id will make the email look personal. Never mail from a department’s id.
- Bombarding inboxes: Always remember if nobody is marking your emails as ‘spam’ that means you are not sending many mails. You must have enough information about, when did they signup, or visit the page or account or cancellation page.
Having a conversation
Selling something to people that they don’t want otherwise is a typical image of salespersons in the society. Now, many startups don’t think this way.
Now startups are focussing more on the needs of the customer and how to give them the best service possible. Building relationships with your clients and aligning your company’s offerings with the customer needs is the key to success.
Of course, you can let people know about your service/product and let them decide. Persuading them to buy something or enroll for subscriptions/newsletters can put off people.
Business relations are the best when based on trust. To build that trust and credibility in the market you need to rope in some highly credible and respectable people.
You can share their details with the clients. It could also be part of the sales process to let people know about the respectable names attached to your brand.
You don’t have to be a traditional slick and easy talking sales guy. Being yourself and genuine will make sales much easier for you. You can look for constructive ways to join in conversations with different people and after learning about their needs you can offer your solutions/services or products. Being authentic can help you in building long-term relationships.
Referrals are a big no no
Asking for referrals is the worst thing a salesperson can do. It is not only embarrassing for the person but the brand as well. It can also jeopardise the future of your relationship with the clients. As per the various reports published in the media, asking for referrals makes the client uncomfortable and as a result, loses the interest in building a healthy relationship with you.
The referral will sure come your way, provided they come without asking. It may not be easy to get a referral from your customer, but it also isn’t impossible. Once you deliver the best service or product to your client, it is all but natural that he will refer you in his circle.
So, rather than asking for a favour from your customers. Let them refer you to their circle. Let your work speak for you.
You can earn brownie points by giving referrals to your customer. Any kind of value addition helps in strengthening the relationship.
Tried and tested formulas
Applying multiple types of strategies in the sales process helps in shooting up the sales. You can try the basic types of strategies that will help you in growing by leaps and bounds.
Trust selling: Telling just your neighbours about your services/products is not word of mouth selling. You can use direct and indirect methods of letting people know about your services/products. Direct methods could be speaking at conferences, local associations, events. While indirect methods could be posting podcasts on your website or social media, online forums, live chats, user information sites, company grading sites, email newsletters, and articles (published in the media).
If one strategy doesn’t work, you can use other. You would require different ways to approach different people or even deal with them.
Dealing with situations
Nobody wants to be in a situation, where the client says… “I want to think about it.” It could be frustrating to hear this line, but being a salesperson you must take it in your stride.
If at all you have to deal with any such situation, rather then being upset you must understand the reasons behind the rejection. Identify, why the client has said no or even taken the time to decide. There could be a problem in your presentation or service or in your approach. Understanding the reasons of rejection help you better your skills and the services.
Change your approach
You may have the best skills for sales, but having a great sales approach is also essential. It is your approach that will further define the course of action. A great impression means a great deal and a strong future relationship.
Being in sales could be a tiresome job, but having a positive attitude will not only help you in carving out the best strategies but will also make you popular among your clients. A positive mental attitude will make you win your customers and make them love you and your services.
It will be hard to stay positive all the time because it’s a self-induced state of mind.
To have a positive mental attitude, you can surround yourself with a positive environment. You can read positive books, watch videos and even workout. Meditating for few minutes in the morning can calm you down. A positive self-talk about how you can achieve your goals in life could work wonders for your sales process.
Author Bio: Anand Rajendran is the CEO and co-founder of Uptra, a leading consultancy firm which offers taxation services to business firms and other organizations. As a business entrepreneur and marketing consultant for 6 years, he launched Uptra Consulting services to make taxation process a simple one with professional accountants.