So, you have a team, an idea, you have the financial means to bring it to fruition, but what happens next? What are you going to do once the product is ready? How do you start selling it? Customers have long been immune to world-changing solutions. In order to be successful, you need to act in a more deliberate way. Here’s how to effectively introduce your product to the market, startup edition.
The Internet is ripe with content covering ways in which startups can start selling. Discussed are various techniques, tools, and courses you can attend to increase your sales.
Funny thing about sales is that it’s a bit like baking a cake – you can easily get all the ingredients, but it’s way more difficult to combine and mix them into a tasty treat. Things like proportions, temperature, time, and order all play an important role.
In order to get good at sales as a startup, you have to find the right recipe that will explain all the necessary steps in a straightforward manner. The good news is, we have it for you right here!
Data is absolutely indispensable for business and constitutes the basis for making the most accurate discussions. Startups usually have no data at all, or it’s incorrect.
The data in question is insights concerning the industry, trends, personas, customer and niche pain points, as well as information such as the availability or the cost of acquiring initial clients.
You should pay particular attention to those insights which affect the way your customer relations are being shaped the most. These data points will show you direction and value, which in turn will increase the efficiency of winning those first users.
It’s recommended to also create a list of problems, those currently existing and potential ones. The point is to include issues you haven’t got much information on, but which may come in handy down the line.
All the data you collect creates a basis for developing a sales process. This should be a bigger-picture plan of action, including tasks to be done, expected results, and how much emphasis you put on particular factors.
One can’t overestimate the importance of having a goal.
When planning your sales activities, you need a fixed date or a crucial event towards which you’ll be striving.
This can be reaching your break even point, winning a particular number of users, or generating a specific sales volume.
You can have multiple goals at the same time, and the process of reaching them should be spread across a month or a quarter. It’s crucial for you to get an answer to a question like “when can we assume the goal has been reached?”. Setting solid expected numbers in advance will help you see the success once it’s there and will give you a boost to push harder. Don’t forget to have a little celebration, you’ve earned it.
Have patience, Rome wasn’t built in a day. When launching the sales of your startup product, break down your actions into iterations, which will in turn make up a bigger goal. Each iteration is a milestone on the path to success.
For instance, if you expect annual sales at 100k level, subdivide the process into quarters and determine the required sales volume while figuring out whether you’ll be able to acquire this many customers and deliver the solution.
If you’re starting from scratch, focus on finding the most suitable target group first. It’d be best to test several (3-5) groups, based on your product’s USP, personas, insights and trends gaining popularity.
Once you’re done with all the actions making up the first iteration, take a good look at the milestone you’ve reached. Examine it using the OKR method and draw relevant conclusions.
Again, if you’re starting from square one, a part of your job can simply be obtaining more data that will help you acquire those initial paying customers. You don’t have to be worried about the bigger sales picture that much yet.
After a couple of iterations, do more of the same in the quarters that follow. Set more logical goals, stemming from and based on the efficiency you achieved in previous periods.
Repeatability and habits you develop for the purpose of planning sales will translate into recurrent business results. Stay on course!
Sales à la Sulma
At Sulma & Sulma, when it comes to projects where it’s up to us to introduce or sell a particular product, or during conducted workshops, the first thing we do is preliminary analysis. It constitutes the basis for further planning and building the sales process.
The analysis is done either based off the information at our disposal, or activities we launch in order to obtain quality data. Usually, this takes the form of pilot sales.
Next up, richer with the newly acquired information, we set the main goal, milestones, OKR, and KPI in order to act efficiently, reach objectives and measure progress.
Startups are having a tough time selling because they’re lacking data which serves as a point of reference. And since sales is a data-based process, in order to take first steps, one has to start with analysis indeed, realize what’s missing, fill in knowledge gaps, and thus start selling more.
A detailed sales plan acts as a navigation for a startup, showing the general direction, but also the best ways to reach the goal, which is effective and dynamic sales.
May your sales rise!
Sulma & Sulma