According to National Business Capital, 21.5% of startup businesses crumble within the first year. Reports by Silicon Canals show that some of the biggest reasons startups crash and burn are sales related: Failure to generate demand and poor marketing.
So, here are some of the best sales training tips to help you sail past the challenges that weigh down other startups.
Develop a clear sales strategy
Building a business without a clear plan can be like stacking a Lego tower with a blindfold. While you can make some headway, the likelihood of knocking it over before you get too far is very high. That’s why it’s critical to plan and map out a sales strategy right from the start.
What is a sales strategy?
A sales strategy is a plan that outlines:
- What you are going to sell.
- Who you will sell to.
- How you will secure customers.
- Ways to evaluate your failure or success.
The first step to creating an effective sales plan is to clearly understand your customer base. So, start by outlining your buyer persona. A buyer persona gives you insight into the types of people you should target.
Once you figure out your ideal customer, research what’s most likely to appeal to these buyers. Knowing how to reach out to customers can help you draw out the best strategies to generate more leads.
Then train yourself to market and sell to your customer segments to yield the best results. There’s no single best-fit approach to getting customers to hear about your business and then to choose your offering.
However, it’s worth remembering that customers are only concerned with what your product or service can do for them. So, stay focused on both telling and showing your customers how your offering is the best-fit solution to their problems.
Find multiple ways to reach out to customers
Statistics compiled by Orbelo show that between 2 and 4 million businesses are formed in the United States each year. Regardless of which industry your business falls under, there’s bound to be stiff competition as more visionaries try their hand at making it in the business world.
Sales training experts often fortify the fact that staying front and center in your customers’ viewfinders increases your odds of staying afloat. So, consider using as many sales channels as possible to keep reaching out to buyers.
For example, you can:
- Cement your online presence with a well-designed and easy-to-navigate website and ecommerce site.
- Create a networking arrangement by offering retailers incentives to push your product.
- Leverage social media for advertising and engaging with customers and prospects.
- Use email marketing to send out your message.
By making sure that customers can find your product or service in different places, you prop up the chances of being noticed and winning more sales.
Build a strong team
A poor salesforce can stunt the growth of your business. So, focus on recruiting the best people for your organization.
Hiring the best team doesn’t always mean finding people with the most training. So, broaden your line of questioning when you’re interviewing recruits. For instance, ask questions that can throw light on personality traits and internal resilience, like:
- “What are your favorite pastimes?” According to FastCompany, people with hobbies tend to perform better at tasks and achieve more.
- “Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.” This question can help you evaluate the stick-to-itiveness of the candidate. People who have accomplished much are typically those that don’t shy away from hard work.
- “What are the biggest challenges you have ever faced, and how did you overcome them?” People who can tackle challenges with optimism are usually the right fit for thriving in the sales environment.
- “Describe what you would do to become the best.” The most suitable candidates typically answer based on a combination of several factors like training, practice, and teamwork. If the potential recruit focuses on one aspect alone, they may not be suited for a fast-paced startup environment.
Once you hire people to work with you, ensure that the onboarding process is smooth, so they get up to speed as quickly as possible.
In addition, lead and motivate the team to keep them rearing to go. Most importantly, be prepared to let people go if they’re consistently not promoting and living your vision.
What if you’re still a one-person band?
If your business is still in its infancy, train yourself to manage your time efficiently so you can handle the various aspects of the business’ selling and marketing.
It also helps to leverage relationships and find ways to outsource some tasks as your business starts to grow. Plus, automating processes – for instance, investing in customer relationship management software – can make it easier for you to stay on target.
Track business performance
Keeping tabs on performance is one of the best ways to stay afloat. If you track how the business performs, you can implement changes and develop new strategies to move more sales to completion.
Some of the main key performance indicators to focus on include:
- Revenue. Month-on-month revenue tracking can help you determine if your sales are adequately feeding into revenue. If your unit sales are growing but revenue is stagnant, it could mean your discounts may be too high or your product mix is off.
- Customer acquisition costs (CAC). This metric tracks the total expenditure you have to fork out to gain new customers.
- Customer lifetime value (CLV). Here you measure the revenue that the customer can bring to your business during the time they remain your customer. The longer you retain customers, the higher CLV will be. If your sales are going in the right direction, CLV should outweigh CAC.
Apart from tracking the numbers, also keep an eye on qualitative measures like customer satisfaction. Consider conducting customer surveys and asking questions like:
- Are you happy with the service you’ve received?
- What more could we do to increase your satisfaction?
Taking your startup to new levels
Your journey to success begins with a well-laid-out sales strategy and a tight-knit team to implement it. Once your strategy is in place, reach out on multiple channels to magnetize more customers. Finally, train yourself to keep track of key performance indicators so you can continually make improvements to your business.