Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Three Things to get your Startup Sales Moving

Many of us may have been asked the question at one point or another in our business career or for our new startup-“What’s the mission of the company?”. Invariably the mission has something to do with your product, service or customers. As it should.

What if we ask the general question “what is the mission of any business?”

I regularly teach sales training and channel development to start-up companies and established organizations across the globe. Each time I start a course I ask this very question. The responses are typical and like those you or I might give, ranging from making money, a profit or a product or service related answer.  Think about it for a minute at a high level level.  A business must have customers to be a business. Maybe every business should have as its prime mission to “Get a customer and keep a customer”?

For entrepreneurs this is what should be top of mind every day for your company. Getting a customer and keeping a customer. That means you have to sell. Many technology based startups hire a “business person ” (http://500.co/what-does-that-business-guy-at-your-startup-do-anyway/). So you now have one person in charge of sales and other partnerships. In fact if you don’t have at least someone in charge of sales you really won’t have a good path to a viable company. 

Related to this are startup incubators. In fact its been reported that 90% of incubators fail-one key reason is that their companies  don’t have access to business development or sales expertise. (http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/14/90-of-incubators-and-accelerators-will-fail-and-why-thats-just-fine-for-america-and-the-world/)

This is going to be the start of a “Startup” Sales column.  To get started there are three key things for startups to do to get sales up and running:

  • 1. Learn how your offering is sold (This means you, the entrepreneur, should know first and foremost how your offering is sold-which customers, how they buy, what it takes to close a deal)
  • 2. Build a killer sales team with top talent (get experienced people who know how to sell but before you hire get #1 , above, done first) https://www.quicksprout.com/2011/10/17/the-startup-guide-to-building-a-killer-sales-team/
  • 3. Implement a sales process (this ensures everyone is on the same page and once you have the formula is easily replicable) 

Remember there are a hundred ways for a startup to fail and many ways to succeed. One sure fire way is to fail is to not have sales or not enough to make your company viable. Remember sales and resulting cash flow cures many ills, even shortfalls in equity funding at certain stages in the company’s development.  I wish you all happy selling. Put your company on the path to success.