Your product is now at the final stage. And you are all set to sell it to the customers. But Wait!! That’s ain’t easy & this is why you are here. Before you step out, it’s crucial that you keep the sales strategy for your startup in place.
Selling is easy when you have the right strategy in place. An effective sales strategy is the one that fits your nature of the business and the organization. And the one that guarantees a high number of sales for every month.
So, What is a Sales Strategy?
Sales Strategy is a planned and thoughtful set of actions curated specifically to make a sale based on the product or the service by a business or startup.
A Sales Strategy for a Startup business encourages it to place itself as an ideal solution to customer’s problems. There are a lot of strategies, and techniques that got developed with technological development. But there are few ones that haven’t left the market and still prove to be successful in making a sale.
To erase out your confusion here is a list of 10 effective sales strategies that promise high monthly sales if implemented correctly.
List of Effective Strategies for Good Startup Sales:
Startup Sales Strategy #1: Build your Ideal Buyer Persona
You need to know who your ideal customers are before you begin to invest your time and money. What pain points do they go through? What do they need? Which information will they require that persuades them to make a decision? And a lot.
An effective buyer persona requires extensive research and deep insights. This can be done through surveys and interviews. Figure out how your solution is the ideal answer to their problem. Collect common demographics, attitudes, behaviors, attributes, characteristics. And also locations, employee count, revenue to frame and streamline the initial stages of the sales strategy.
This strategy will keep you away from chasing unproductive leads that will never purchase from the company. Thus leading your efforts towards better sales and marketing.
Startup Sales Strategy #2: The PAS Strategy
Adam Ferrier, a consumer psychologist, claims that humans get motivated to take actions either because of pain or pleasure. Thus, from here emerges the PAS strategy.
From your sales pitch to your long-form sales pages, this should be at the core of your process, irrespective of the product. PAS is:
P – Problem – Present the problem/pain point your prospect has.
A – Agitation – Deliberately amplify the problem, & its negative implications.
S – Solution – Position your product as the solution to their big problem.
The success of the strategy lies in the genuineness of the solution and agitating the problem truthfully. When you agitate the problem, you give clear context about the problem and its challenges.
If your product is the genuine solution to their pain points then this strategy is an authentic way to position your product in the client’s mind.
Startup Sales Strategy #3: Focus on Small Markets
As a Startup, no one knows about your business & the market is so huge, you will get lost in it. So move away from eating the pie at once, take baby steps. A big market with high demand is appealing but the diversity of accounts will overwhelm you.
So dig deeper to reach a specific niche or specific small chunk of a similar customer group. Choosing a small niche does not limit your opportunities. Once you get profitable in that niche & earn positive cash flow, you can widen your net to grab more customer market.
Startup Sales Strategy #4: Get into Customers Shoes
While forming a sales strategy many times salespeople fail to understand what their clients want. Mostly they are trained with one sales process. But, no two clients are the same. What worked well for one client may not work for the other. Because every customer comes with needs.
Train your salespeople to be observant and mindful of the audience’s needs. One cannot just start by diving straight into packages and your offers. This shows your lack of empathy towards them.
Articulate the strategy that convinces them you understand their problem. And when you pull down the curtains from your product and treat it as the ultimate solution to their problem. They will be on their toes to purchase it.
Startup Sales Strategy #5: Outperform your competitors
Why should clients choose you? Ok, so have the solution. But so do your competitors have it. So why you? Are you better than them? or How is your USP better than them?
“Doing what everyone else does is comfortable and “safe,” but it stirs some controversy and does something drastically different! It takes courage, but focus on one thing you think others are doing incorrectly, or not doing at all, and consistently demonstrate how you’re bucking the trend. Then, shout it from the rooftops in all of your marketing and communication.”
– Dan Pickett
That’s where the catch is !!! Study your competitors. Find Out what EXTRA you can offer to your customers. Have a powerful display strategy that’s beneficial enough to create a strong competitive impact.
Startup Sales Strategy #6: Master your Negotiation Skill
Negotiation Strategy is to hold a discussion between buyer and seller to come to an agreement or to close the ideal deal that’s acceptable to both parties. Sales professionals consider this as an ongoing activity that requires strategic planning, beginning with lead generation to cracking the deal.
A Sales deal will take longer than usual time to close if the order volume is large, price risk is high and more people are involved. It is at this level where you might lose or grab the deal.
It is at this level where you might lose or grab the deal. Its task of immense patience. To master the negotiation skill, learn the art of staying calm & smart. Prospects might get aggressive or to just grab the deal you may offer them heavy discounts, which might get you in trouble.
So, be well prepared. Sharpen your skills, speech, and way of conduct to create a win-win situation for both parties. Be aware of your bottom line for negotiation. This way you cannot offer them more discounts.
Instead of cutting down the price, give them an additional feature & bonus add-ons. Whenever you quote a big value, there is enough space for negotiation for prospects. Thus, creating a fair moment to crack the deal.
Startup Sales Strategy #7: Show the Authority
Prospects don’t buy from you just because you have the solution. They make the purchase when they TRUST your solution. Gain their confidence through correct positioning.
Show them the evidence, the data to support your claims. Have a robust and compelling online activity and engage like a subject-media expert.
This will accelerate your business growth and will work as an attractive force to gain clients.
Startup Sales Strategy #8: Hear out your Customers
Not every solution that a customer gets is perfect and all around. Some flaws and imperfections may get missed from you.
When a customer starts using it, he is an actual individual that knows how the product should be or how it can be improved in certain areas.
Keep your ears on customers’ queries. Improve your solution and redevelop the proposition. These queries can work as gems if more customers face the same issue. You can capitalize it and can turn it into the next new feature.
Startup Sales Strategy #9: Automated Follow-Up Process
Initially, manual outreach will be the way to move forward. But as you grow, automating certain parts of your marketing & selling strategy will become a crucial component of your startup.
Automating your email marketing for delivering relevant content that triggers an action will get most of your tasks done. Map out your customer journey, and construct a series of automated emails that hit the desired action. Have a conversational tone that makes your automated outreach a human outreach.
Startup Sales Strategy #10: Be a Great Storyteller
People love stories. It amuses them. It gives a human touch and meaning to the product. A story has the power to evoke interest in the minds of the market.
“Top salespeople tell stories because it engages customers and puts the sales message in a context that captures the prospect’s attention, perhaps even tugs at the prospect’s emotions. A story provides a structure that makes it easier to understand your pitch and to remember it, so your prospect can recommend and defend your property when you are not in the room.”
– Daniel Ambrose
This will simplify the complex process logic and will make it easy for customers to resonate with the product. Integrate a strong narrative with your sales pitch to create your product impact.
How to create a Startup Sales Strategy Plan:
A Sales Strategy plan for your Startup will outline the goals, objectives, and procedures you will be using to accomplish it. To create your Startup Sales Strategy, here are the 7 key components you need to figure out:
Company Goals & Objectives:
The first step is to set up Startup goals & objectives. An organization should employ SMART sales goals. Here each is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
- Specific Goals are clear and precise. It answers the five main “W” questions i.e, who, where, when, what, why.
- Measurable goals are to set numerical standards to attain the goals. Increasing sales revenue by 15 percent in Q1 is a measurable goal.
- Attainable Goals assure that the goals are not out of the company’s league and can be achieved within the set period.
- Relevant Goals are ones that are aligned with your company’s vision and mission. It assures that your organizational goals are in the same line with the organization’s mission.
- Timely Goals are time-bound. Every goal should have its due date. Is the next sales goal to be accomplished in the next six months or three months?
The product offering should represent the true value proposition that you want to give to the customers. It should persuade your customers that your product is better and provides more value than other similar products. Focus on achieving the product-market fit. An ideal product offering is a solution to customers’ problems and pain points.
As said above, Learn about your buyer personas. Do extensive audience research to create 2 to 20 broad descriptions about Customer profiles. Do they belong to the finance industry or the Marketing industry? What are the customers that your product is created to serve?
Onboarding Right Skills
Even if you create a highly effective strategy, the ultimate success of the strategy is in the hands of employees with the right skills. Onboard relevant manpower with the right skill sets. Track their performance at every stage. And offer opportunities for training & development.
This includes a clear and accurate plan to increase product awareness. Through social media, email- marketing, or content marketing, or through a free webinar, ebooks, and holding events.
In business, everything has its measurement. Have specific metrics in a plan that you want to measure. These measurements can be monthly or quarterly KPIs, monthly assessments or everything combined.
Key Sales Activities:
Designing the key sales activities, beginning from prospect qualification to closing techniques. It should include the timeline of the sales process to get a better understanding of each stage.
Startup Sales Strategy Example: Shopify’s Secret Sauce
Loren PadelFord, the Ex-Vice President of Shopify spilled the beans that made Shopify a Multi-Billion Business within just 15 years. Here’s the four core strategy, that was integrated with Shopify’s Sales Strategy:
- Hiring great people with six personality traits. This includes Intelligence, Work Ethic, History of Success, Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Competitiveness. To train them to make them great salespeople.
- Treating Sales as Science and tracking the relevant metrics like average deal size, average sales cycle length, lead to deal conversion rate, calls per day per rep, and the number of deals in the pipeline, etc. to make informed decisions to improve the sales process.
- Leveraging technology that assesses their prospects, estimated revenue, email open rate, etc.
- Filtering out unqualified leads, to get access to leads with a high probability of getting converted.
This was Shopify’s Sales strategy. Their sales strategy not only focused on integrating the approaches that bring them closer to their leads. But also eliminating time wastage and decreasing the sales process length.
A Startup’s Sales Strategy will not be the same for all. As you grow bigger, with new experiences you can integrate new strategies. Remember, how many new strategies you accommodate, these strategies will always be at the core for every startup.
Build a Sales strategy that gives value to not only your company but even customers as well gain from it. This will give a direction to your startup and a path to achieve sales goals.
Alcor Fund encourages founders & entrepreneurs to bring their startups in front of the world. By backing 500 startups through our short funding cycle. We aim to create value for every smart startup at every level of the growth stage.