Startups have a lot on their plates, and when it comes to sales development, they usually face the critical question of where to start? Either they undergo analysis paralysis or juggle too many balls in the air. Both can lead to the slow death of a product. Finding the right balance is essential during the Sales Development stage; however, with a focus on learning and an efficient, simple sales plan set in place, a team can drive actionable insight and gain momentum. Here are sprint steps to take on your corse:
1. Become Agile
Consider the current size and ability of your team to hit the desired performance. Evaluate the quality and quantity of your CRM data. Drill down and truly understand (i.e., quantify) your sales-cycle and throughput. Determine how ready the organization is for increasing performance. Assess the team’s willingness and ability to adapt and move fast and create the assets and resources they need to be flexible. Adjust according to product releases and the weak/strong team characteristics. Also, be prepared to leverage customer touch-point data and feedback from the team, failure to do so is a wasted opportunity. The lives of your customers are likely in-flux, so your team needs to be nimble to change with it. Try to avoid rigidness!
2. Real in the Fish
In most cases, companies need to target across sectors and different channel opportunities in varying degrees, primarily if you haven’t found product-market-fit. This aim will allow you a faster understanding of who and why customers are biting and be able to share with interested investors, including your strategy moving forward to go full steam on those sectors that are working. Each will require an engaging hook during a sales pitch presentation so plan to have an alter multiple messages. Fast learning organizations and effective leadership that demonstrate an ability to build repeatable, scalable processes are what investors love to see.
3. Tool Advantage
Implement sales tools and a cadence to keep you accountable with your pipeline and track performance at each stage in your process, including leading indicators that move the general measures of growth. Keep things clean and simple by using an excellent CRM platform like Insightly.com or a forecasting tool like P3rceive.com. Today’s workflow requires simplicity for the hecticness within a startup that often includes distributed teams. Being able to get access to sales data efficiently and review what’s happening in your sales cycle is most beneficial to keep it moving with sanity.
4. Strong Allies
Identify and replicate across your team any sales enablement tactics and cross-functional even channel sales synergies that are working in reaching your audience to accelerate your sales effort. After you craft your message, no different than testing your actual product’s worthiness, you need to verify that your sales message and brand perception will resonate with your audience. Align the sales, marketing, and product teams with unifying metrics and ways to collaborate so that together, they become strong allies that move at the same pace and preach consistency. This strategy often is best served when it revolves around a point of difference in the marketplace (not around features.) Host persistent product critiques and prioritization meetings with all disciplines to share learnings, adjust, and together, there is a plan to have a shared vision of success.
5. Price to Sell
Be ready with pricing, packages, and know where you can flex your margins. Always ask your customer if they think your price is a fare within the marketplace. Continue to review and tweak this valuable feedback based on the customer’s reactions to satisfy their needs while trying to find a sweet spot for growth for your company. Recognize that pricing is fluid and needs to signal to customers and investors the value you are creating. You may need to make compromises to learn, to move forward with a referenceable customer, or other reasonable tradeoffs to keep your momentum and growth metrics, especially if that growth is what an investor expects to hear the next time you speak with them.
Entering the Sales Development stage of your startup business can hit you like a ton of bricks, but you can be ready to shield and deflect by using these tips. Always remember to adjust to your priority buyers and the consistent feedback they are willing to share. These are the people who will be spending their ‘lifeblood,’ i.e., money on your product so become flexible.