A few tips on how to grow your startup's B2B sales!
Lately we have been working on something new and exciting! We will intensify our cooperation with corporations, which will help us create real added value for our portfolio startups, and this way of course help us pay our bills.
We needed, and still need to, increase our B2B sales. Arcticstartup wrote an article about the subject at hand, and we wanted to add a few useful tips of our own that we have noticed to work quite well.
1. The “Pre-Work”
“Selling starts by prospecting” - If You want to sell well, and be efficient, you have to scout out a nice sized database of contacts that fit well your customer segment. You want to target companies and corporations that you think will benefit from your product or service and have the resources to buy it. The quality of the contacts on your list will pretty much determine the quality of your potential sales. You don’t want to be wasting time on companies that don’t fit your industry, company type or function. You also have to think about the person you are contacting from this company. You want your contact to be at the decision making level. The first few hundred contacts are easy to manage with an Excel type sheet.
2. “Social Selling”
Nowadays everyone works in the digital world and communicates through digital channels. This makes it reasonable to try and master these channels and create revenue through them. You can gather a lot of information about your prospect clients, as well as current clients, through social media. Social selling is a way to show interest in your client and find out more about them, so you build a strong connection to them before you engage them in a face to face conversation. Now, this requires a lot of research and patience. At Startup Catapult we have mostly utilized social medias, such as linkedin and facebook to gather information and contact details from our prospect clients. Depending on your targeted customer you might be able to establish a connection fore hand on social media, but with bigger corporations it’s unlikely. Of course after gathering your contact database and hitting your clients up, they probably will go check you out on social media so you really should make sure you pages are up to date and looking professional.
3. “Learn about How Your Clients Buy”
While best practices in sales are still true today, the way enterprises and corporations buy has changed. Purchasing processes are a lot more complex than they were before and there are a lot more influencers involved in the decision making. Corporations are more risk-averse and more often there are third party negotiators and evaluators included in the rigid process. Through digitalization there’s a lot more information available for your buyers but it also provides startups multiple channels to grasp the new ways of purchasing.
Understanding your client is very important. If you are contacting a larger corporation, you contact is most definitely a very busy executive level decision maker. You don’t want to send an email or get their secretary on the line, because you will most likely never hear back from them. Try get a hold of their work or personal phone number and keep your message short and clear.
Introduce yourself shortly and ask if they are the person responsible for making a purchasing decision about the product you are selling. Don’t ask questions that need long answers or gives them the chance to say “Sorry I’m busy, get back to me via email” or something similarly vague. Then shortly tell them what you are selling and suggest a meeting for the following week. Don’t settle for making the arrangements through exchanging emails, because busy executives almost never follow through on those. Of course there are exceptions too.
Friday’s are good days to make sales and book meetings, because people are usually anxious to leave work and start the weekend and don’t usually have meetings arranged. The more meetings you manage to book, the more sales you are going to make.
4.”Growth is a Culture”
You can say that most startups are after exponential growth, but they often get caught up on product and service development and investor acquisition. This is why the actual way to success is easily underestimated. Getting sales and “spreading the mission” often falls behind and is a late target for startups to follow. However, this should be your main focus. Getting client feedback from at the earliest stages is crucial for product development, therefore, focusing on sales early on is critical and a very good way to motivate you to work towards the growth and make it a part of your organisation’s culture.