SALES it's not a dirty word

Working with startups and small business owners, you get to meet some pretty switched on people, many of whom have developed their own products or created something new that no one else had thought about. Some of my recent clients have double degree’s masters degrees and one even has a doctorate in the field of his developed product.

They all know how the product or service extremely well, how it works and what it is capable of producing, sometimes they can even describe how it will benefit the intended market.

We know you love your product, you have spent the last 3 years working on it or invest your life savings to bring it to market. Everyone you speak to loves what you’ve been able to achieve, yet at the end of the day, you still need to sell your shiny new gizmo.  

How hard can it be though, right, I mean, anyone can be a salesperson, it's not like you need a degree and besides, the product is so good it will sell itself.  “all my friends want one”

Most entrepreneurs, startups and small business owners think that marketing will take care of that dirty stuff anyway, they all have a shiny office and charge accordingly so they must know. However marketing is not selling, and there is a lot to be said about the effectiveness of inbound marketing, and while not all marketing leads are created equal, there is great value in talking to your potential customers through content marketing.

A Hubspot Report shows that Marketing departments produce hundreds to thousands of leads per month (the number will vary by industry). However, a marketing lead (QML) is not the same as a qualified sales lead (QSL) So unless you are purely a Saas online play, you are going to need to interact with your potential purchaser, either through a series of meetings, at an event or in a retail environment.

I spent some time working with BMW and Like a supply chain, sales have to be operationally efficient. The core principles of BMW Production System are to eliminate waste, and to drive out the inconsistency, In sales, simply saying you want to acquire customers isn’t good enough. Your sales process has to deliver the revenue you want in a cost-effective and efficient way. This comes about by designing standardised processes and deploying the right technology. You need the operational backbone – the workflows, technology and training – so your sales team can follow the right motions to consistently drive customer-focused conversion and growth.

One of the critical steps in the sales process is the art of the follow-up. Regardless of what you’re selling, in today’s digitally inundated world it takes more than one or two touch points to gain contact with a prospect. In fact, it takes an average of 18 touchpoints (according to merely to connect with a buyer. Labs research analysed 14,000+ cadences made up of 144,000+ total activities, across nearly 9,000 companies and established these four critical components for a successful cadence. (sequence of events),

  • According to an HBR study, you should make a minimum of 6 calls to try and get in touch with your leads, and the ideal cadence has between 10 and 15 touches.
  • A healthy sales cadence should use all communication media at your disposal. If you can find out what your clients prefer, email or a phone call — even better, use that to your advantage
  • Relationship selling (high ticket low volume)best practice suggests those touchpoints should be over a longer time frame, based on your overall strategy. For transactional selling (low ticket, high volume) that spread comes down to 4 – 8 days
  • The ideal spacing (time between contacts) is said to be 1 – 4 days and with transactional selling on a much tighter time frame.
So what do you say, when you finally do get someone on the phone?
Do you start off by asking questions about their business, or do you immediately start on your sales pitch?
Do you even have a prepared sales pitch? If not build one, as it's vital for delivering the right message with consistency.

Often, the type of business you are in and the characteristics of your target market will determine the ideal pitch. Remember, your content will only work if it speaks to the pain points of your customer. Always, start with your customer and get to know the person you're dealing with.

Find out more about creating a proven, customer focused sales process for your business.