Sales Outreach Program for Startups
Sales is at the top of the minds of most founders/Sales Head because it is the key to success for them. And as a founder you’ve to wear several hats at once from testing your app for bugs before a release to creating a marketing plan for its launch, you’ve to take care of it all.
But doing all as it not so easy as it seems to be. Especially Sales is one the most difficult part. Even though if you’ve the world’s best product with the most amazing features, if you can’t sell it then it means nothing.
So, it is very important to put up worth amount of energy while strategizing a Sales plan and even more while executing it. To be specific, spend around 30 % of your energy time creating the plan and 70% in executing it.
Before I talk about what you should do to create that let me tell you what you shouldn’t do. And this list is not just random, it has been curated based on experiences of some of the most successful entrepreneurs.
What not to do?
1. Not knowing who your customer is:
This is the biggest sin you can do being an entrepreneur. Building something and not knowing who you’re building it for is just plain stupid. It can prove brutal to your startup. Having some surface idea about who your target audience at an early stage can help you decide your price point, communication strategy and how to approach them to get more quality leads than just shooting in the dark.
2. Forgetting customer’s needs:
This is another sin which a lot of early stage startups end up committing without even realizing it. They’re so focused on promoting the features that they forget to talk about the needs of their customers.
Obviously, you have put up a lot of time and energy while building these but you should not forget about your customers in the process. Simply because you’ve built or are building the product for the customer and not just for you or your team.
3. Blasting everyone with the same message:
Segmentation is the key in marketing. And it is a good practice if you segment your prospects, leads, and customers at every single stem. It helps you get insights you might be missing out otherwise.
Early stage startups at times make the mistake of blasting all the prospects/customers with the same message. You need to divide them into categories like interested, engaged or lapsed. And decide communication strategy accordingly.
4. Getting frustrated:
For most of the early stage startups, this is the period of trial and error. As entrepreneurs, there might be times which tests your patience. You might have to revisit from where you started quite a few times.
You might have targeted the wrong set of prospects or might would have the wrong approach to reach out to the right set of prospects. Either way the right way to move forward will be to not lose your calm and go back and start again but be smarter this time.
5. Selling the features and not the benefits:
Developing a quality product takes months, sometimes years. And it is hard to not talk about the features you had put so much effort on. But there’s a difference between building and selling. There’s a difference between building a desirable product and selling it into the market.
And it is very difficult to pull you out of the product you’ve put so much efforts and look at it from the perspective of future customers. Early stage startups live in an assumption that their buyers can see what they’re trying to show them. What they forget is that customers don’t care what a product can or cannot do, but what they do care about is that how will it benefit them, what value is it going to add in their lives.
Nobody in the world is perfect and as human we are bound to make mistakes the first time we try to something. But what we are also bound to do is that we are bound to learn, realize our mistakes and not repeat them.
Now, that you’re aware of what mistakes most early startup teams commit you can avoid them.
Let’s focus on the most important part now which is reaching out to your customers. Early stage startups are good at making products, building teams, executing the operations but they seem somewhere lost between trying to get paid customers.
Because startups in the early stage are do not have a steady flow cash which is generally required to invest to get more sales, they’ve to very careful while considering what sales or marketing activity to invest in.
The only way you can compensate with your not so experience is by understanding the data. And you can only understand data once you’ve collected it. Here are some things you might need to know when you plan on reaching out to your customers:
1. Know who they are:
As mentioned earlier in the article, you need to know who to target before you do anything. And trust me “everyone is our customer” is a disastrous statement to say. Now, why am I saying this? Because you might want to target every single person in the world but it is just impossible to do that. So, in the initial phase, you need to get those grey cells into work and ask yourself, who among this vast group is easily available and can be convinced. You need to segment your audience as deep as you can.
Once you know that niche group of people who need to create a persona around it. Here are the things you will need to know while creating their persona.
— Age group
— Where are they found
— What do they do
— What are their interests
— What are their pain points
— How will your product benefit them
This might seem like a time consuming and irrelevant exercise to you right now but let me tell you what kind of insights will it give:
— How to reach them
— Where to reach them
— Deciding on what features to talk about
— And a lot more..
2. Use email marketing:
I know that most of us are under the impression that the best way to getting your first customers is through referral or word of mouth. So, we start by contacting our friends by calling them or reaching out to them on Facebook and ask them for help and spread the word. But does that always work?
The other thing which comes to our mind is running Facebook or Google ads which is quite expensive.
So, what to do then? Well, you already know who your prospects are and what are their interests, then why not email them?
But, email is the thing of the past. It’s digital age!! I know what you’re thinking. Let me tell you why?
Imagine that you have 2000 subscribers on your email list and 2000 fans on your Facebook page. Out of these 2000 fans, approximately 120 will see your post and only 2–5 will see each post of yours. And maybe one of them might convert into a paying customer.
While the average email open rate is ~21–22%. This means that out of those 2000 around 435 will open your email.
How is email marketing beneficial:
— Emails are more personal and can be customized
— It helps you build relationships
— Unlike any other medium you’ve full control and easily access your audience
This proves that email is the still the king.
3. Build a relationship:
Now, that you’re convinced with email marketing you need to know how to use it. You can’t just directly email them to buy your product! They don’t know who you’re, you haven’t even built your website probably yet. So, what’s the right way?
You know that I asked to figure out the pain points and interests of your customers? That information is going to help you now. What you need to do is: Send them newsletters, blog posts, articles, etc. to establish a relationship with them. Build trust among them. I know it seems like a lengthy process but once you’ve established a relationship it becomes easier for you to sell them your product.
4. Schedule a meeting:
Once you’ve established a relationship with them you’ve completed three fourth of your task. Now they know you and are aware of your product and services. So, it’s time to come out of the shell and ask them what you’re looking for.
Scheduling a meeting might seem like too much to ask but it’s not. Ask your recipients if they’re free for a quick call or an in-person meeting. The rest how well you’re able to present.
So, remember in the early phase you’re not selling anything, you’re learning. Learning more about your potential customers. Helping them and earning their trust by adding value.
This is how you stand out of the noisy crowd and establish yourself as a leader among your audience and converting them to customers.