The Art of Sales
When bringing a product or service to market that users want to purchase and quickly sees traction, it demonstrates product-market fit (PMF) and a well-developed go-to-market strategy framework.
A minimum viable product (MVP) is foundational, however without proper planning, it’s challenging to know whether you’re addressing the right audience, or if you’re too early to too late to market. To avoid these missteps that could potentially be devastating to growth, it’s critical to spend enough time creating a strategy around the go-to-market and the sales strategy. It’s both a science and an art.
With that being said, is it true that a sales team is a startup’s greatest asset?
Mike founded Allegro Consulting after working in sales for 30+ years, to create go-to-market strategies for startups to transform the way they engage with customers through repeatable sales strategies.
We recently hosted Mike on the Startup Showdown podcast to get a better understanding of the importance of sales within a GTM plan, and he shared four tips for startups creating a sales strategy.
Let’s dive in:
The role of the CEO is to equip their sales team with the tools to be successful
An established business needs to have a destination that they’re driving the business to. That’s called a strategic plan. Within that strategic plan is sales enablement. These include playbooks, processes, collateral, CRM system, success metrics, and sales portals.
Given that only 28% of a salesperson’s time is spent in front of the customer and about 50% of that time is actually selling (the rest is prospecting (35%), relationship building (10%), and training (5%)), it is imperative, you the owner, equip him/her with the tools to ensure it is the right prospect and that they maximize the productivity of that time.
Research Your Target Market Thoroughly
A lot of startups underestimate the power of the niche – they don’t understand that focusing on that niche, going deep and really becoming that subject matter expert makes you that much more valuable.
Identifying and researching your target audience allows startups to effectively communicate and market their product or service.
It’s one thing to say I have a solution for moms. It’s another to say I have a solution for moms with kids in elementary school who live in a suburban environment. And those kids go to participate in little league. Putting as much detail behind your target audience is key and it allows you to identify the correct tools to target and attract a potential customer.
Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) are not Always Effective
It’s all about the quote and the customer.
SDRs focus on volumes. How many emails did you send out? How many cold calls did you make? Not what was the quality of the engagements that you had? Did this help the customer? SDRs have a reputation for being self-serving and can be repetitive, but what’s the harm in a simple email?
If you are running your business well, and you are clear about the customer demographic that you best can serve with your solution, then you will find a way to be more in the service of that community and engage them in a thoughtful and useful manner.
Learn how to be of service to your customers
One of the underlying principles in a 30+ year career in sales was acting in service of your customer. Ask yourself; are you helping them make a good buying decision?
The moment you step away from that and start doing something because you’re trying to meet your company’s quota or your sales bonus, then you should stop because your customer doesn’t care about any of that.
Customer support isn’t always about retaining customers. It’s an effective way to increase sales by getting current and potential customers the information they need to make an informed decision.
A salesperson’s goal is to sell something, and not really help that prospect find the best solution because sometimes the best solution isn’t your product.
The rules of business have been around for years. It’s like gravity. You might be able to think you can fight them, but gravity will eventually win. Follow the rules. It’ll serve you.
Learn more about Mike Gomez’s 30+ year career in sales, his experience advising startups through Allegro Consulting, and his love for strategic planning by listening to his episode on the Startup Showdown Podcast.
Join us every week as we discover how you can take your startup to the next level by listening to interviews of Startup Showdown winners, mentors and advisors, and our guest investor judges. We discuss everything from web2 to web3 trends, fundraising 101 to signing the term sheet, and how to navigate startup life!