Few startups make it; half don’t survive 5 years. At launch, the right sales development strategy is critical to gain a successful trajectory. Employ these 20 sales actions to increase your odds of beating the grim reaper.
- Concentrate much of your sales development work BEFORE you launch, to help ramp sales up quickly and attract investor interest.
- Create a competitive claim to differentiate you from your competition. It must answer the killer question “Why should I buy from you and not your competitors?”
- DO NOT talk to a sales prospect unless you nail #2.
- Sell VALUE at the highest price possible. Do NOT go to the lowest price strategy unless you want the risk of being a commodity player.
- URGENT! Create a sales bonus plan with relationship building as its core; client relationships create long term value for the business.
- Focus your efforts on high potential prospects – your “A” list – to maximize your sales run rate as early as possible. Study and line them up 6 months BEFORE you launch.
- Rule of engaging a prospect – have a conversation; don’t flog your product or technology.
- Never break a promise to a client. EVER!
- Use referrals as the fuel for sales. Earn the right to always ask for one.
- You may feel the pressure (to sell) but never let the prospect see it.
- Listen. Listen. Listen. DON’T Talk. Talk. Talk.
- Discover a client hidden want and desire – a “secret” – to give you the edge for future sales.
- Partner with every client you are successful with; find a way to be a trusted member of their strategic team.
- “Serve” don’t sell the prospect. Make it about them not you.
- Look beyond the current sale for the NEXT opportunity with your initial buyers; you need a stream of repeat business.
- Overdo client communication. They need to know you are on a successful track. Tell them about the new offerings in the hopper and when they will likely see them.
- Do whatever it takes to recover from a service screw-up.
- If there is any problem with fulfilling initial sales, take personal responsibility to “turn the organization inside out” to fix the problem.
- 3 months in, gather client feedback based on their perception of your performance.
- Be on the lookout for salespeople who fit your culture even though you may not be in the recruitment mode right away. When you are able, you want to bring them in quickly. You can’t let staffing issues get in the way of generating sales.
Anemic sales = fast death.
These 20 actions will at least give you a fighting chance.