Selling ain’t easy. That’s what they say, at least.
But what do “they” know?
Folks who say things like that often leave the impression of jaded old salespeople. Even if they own or work for a startup.
More than that, folks who say things like that? They aren’t using sales strategies for startups to their full potential.
What does your sales strategy look like? Do you have multiple strategies for selling in effect? If so, how effective are they for your company?
Try not to take any offense when we say this, but most of the time, you aren’t optimizing your sales strategies for startups. It’s not a you problem. It’s a matter of building them to fit your specific business needs, and your customer’s unique desires and pain points too.
When you start looking at other companies’ sales initiatives for inspiration, that’s great. But it should be just that: inspiration. Not a holistic approach to creating your own.
You don’t have to do it alone, though. As always, we’re here with some advice. Let’s begin.
What Does “Startup Companies” Mean?
You hear that term a lot: “Startup company,” or “startup companies.” But what does it really mean? Why would sales strategies for startups be any different from selling strategies for any other kind of company?
A “startup” is a pretty broad term that can encompass any sort of business from a variety of industries. The difference between a startup and another company is more so a matter of timing than it is anything else.
Startups are not as elusive of an idea as you may believe.
The word itself is referring to a business that is just getting its feet off the ground. In a nutshell, a startup is a business that is starting its beginning stages of actually being a business, from an operational standpoint.
Otherwise, though, startups share a lot of the same characteristics as any other established business.
An entrepreneur (or more than one entrepreneur, a lot of the time) identifies a gap in the market. They realize they have the means and dedication to fill that gap and corner that specific market. This is their niche market. They have a product or service that they want to develop more.
As they are literally starting up their company, they discover that there is a lot of cost associated with getting up and running. But there isn’t a lot of revenue coming in to supplement those costs. At this point, most of these entrepreneurs start looking for investors like venture capitalists to support their startup costs.
The Most Effective Sales Strategies for Startup Sales
There are some other struggles that come with opening a business. In fact, there are a lot more than just the issues of money.
We have some relieving news for you, though. For every problem at hand there is an equal strategy to deal with it.
They’re not necessarily difficult sales strategies for startups, either. They just take some work and some tweaking to make them work for you.
Without keeping you waiting too much longer, below you will find sales strategies examples for 12 different areas of your business.
1. Target Smaller, More Specific Niche Markets
Look, there’s no getting around it: Sales is an all-encompassing field. There are tons of markets within the selling landscape. Too many, sometimes.
At the same time, that much room means there is that much more for niche markets.
Find one of your own. Look into what customers need what unique solution. You can get weird with it. What product or service will satisfy a particular and unmet need?
You can expand in the marketplace later.
2. Your Sales Strategy Needs to Be Flexible
You’re gonna have problems. We’re not trying to beef with you here, we swear.
In general, though, there will be conflict. There will be stress. Instead of beating yourself up about it, though, understand that you will be able to fix it.
Be flexible. When change happens, change with it. Keep your mind open to all the possibilities there are and all the opportunities you can take advantage of. Adapt.
3. Use Lead Scoring
Lead scoring is when you rank your prospects and leads on a scale of one to 10. The points you give your leads is the number value they can provide to your business.
Sales strategies for startups can feel tricky and convoluted. This is one of the simplest ways to determine if you’re wasting your time or going in the right direction with your prospecting efforts.
4. Aim for the Decision Maker of the Company
You want to drive revenue for your business. To do that, you have to make sales. To make sales, you have to have people buying your product or service.
Who are you talking to when you try to get a client to buy, though?
You waste everyone’s time when you talk to low-level managers or staff members. From the beginning, talk to a decision maker.
5. Build Your Buyer Persona
You can’t start investing until you know who you’re investing for. So who are you catering to?
Get specific. The only way you can is through building your buyer persona(s).
Start with heavy research on your target market, or what you think your target market is. Conduct interviews and send out surveys. Then, start building your buyer persona document by addressing things like the following:
- Ideal customers’ pain points
- Needs and desires
- What they need to know before they make a purchase
- How your solution is the right one for them in solving their specific problem
- Past buying behavior
- Personality traits
- Geographic location
- Their businesses
- And more
6. Evaluate Your Negotiation Strategy
Negotiation is what happens when you discuss how to adjust the deal with your potential customer so you can close.
The process starts from the moment of lead generation, lasting all the way through to closing the sale.
As far as sales strategies for startups, how are you going to negotiate with your clients?
How are you speaking to your leads and prospects? What are your mannerisms like? Are you too aggressive, or not aggressive enough? Evaluate your approach here for maximum reward (and revenue).
7. Automate Your Email Marketing
When you are first getting started with outreach, you tend to do everything by hand. Every email, phone call and correspondence is from you.
As you continue with your sales strategies for startups, though, there’s no time for that. It’s time to automate.
Email marketing is one of the best places to start. You need marketing, and you need an email, but there’s no need to waste your time. Look at automation tools or outsourcing to help you here.
8. Use PAS Strategy
People act due to feeling either pain or pleasure. Enter: Problem, Agitation, Solve (PAS).
Every part of sales strategies for startups should shape itself around the PAS strategy. Every document, interaction and more needs to include PAS.
For “Problem,” show that you understand your customers’ pain points.
For “Agitation,” shine the spotlight on these problems. Demonstrate what could happen if they do not solve their problem.
For “Solve,” or “Solution,” also demonstrate how your product or service will alleviate any pain that comes with their obstacle.
9. Master the Power of Storytelling
Painting a picture and telling a story is how you connect with your audience. Do it.
Stories appeal to, and form emotional connections with, people. Especially consumers. Engage your own target market by telling them a story with your pitch. Continue the narrative as your relationship with them progresses.
10. Provide Product Demos
Product descriptions are cool. You need them. All is well with product descriptions.
But saying something and doing it are two different things. Have you heard that one before?
We mean it, though. Almost anyone can read through a dry product page, and they will, before they buy something. But to get that sell in the bag for real, show your audience how to use your product. Demonstrate the benefits of it with a product demo video.
Not to mention, the majority of the population are visual learners.
11. Create a Sense of Urgency
To move people away from acting and into the realm of acting now, instill a sense of urgency in your audience.
If you do not give them a reason to buy your product or service now, they will not want to. Simple as that. The less they want to now, the more they push it off until next quarter. And the next. And the next. Until they start ignoring your outreach altogether.
12. Always Ask for Referrals
We said earlier that people trust a demo more than they trust a product description page. Like that, people trust their friends and family more than they trust a distant review page.
These days in particular, consumers want to spend their money where it counts. They will be more willing to spend their money with you if they trust you and what you have to offer.
Plus, rewarding existing customers for their referral does a lot for customer retention.
We’ve Got You Covered When it Comes to an Effective Sales Strategy…
We don’t just provide sales strategies for startups. We take it ten steps further.
Here at Selling Revolution, we build Selling Systems™ for companies just like yours.
This means you’ll end up with better leads, higher conversion rates and sales training for your entire team.
When it comes to a small business, a sales strategy should never feel like a one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why we’re ready to fully customize your Selling System™– in every way.
Are you up for it?