A startup that cannot generate sales will quickly become a failing business before it is soon forgotten. This is a dark reality but one that has rung true for more businesses than currently exist. If that number seems staggering to you, it should be. That is an incredible number of failed businesses. Some of this failure is due to unfortunate circumstances but in some cases, it’s simply poor planning that holds responsibility. It probably goes without saying that you and your startup want nothing to with the results these businesses “achieved”. In fact, it is probably far more accurate to say that you desire the exact opposite of failure – victory. However, this does not take place without intentional strategy. Business sales author Tibor Shanto said as much, “Great sellers go into a meeting with multiple next-steps; this allows them to proactively respond if a plan does not unfold as planned.”
With more options than you might make sense of, finding an effective sales strategy may be difficult. To help you and your startup identify winning sales strategies, we connected with a few people who have been in similar shoes. Let’s jump into their thoughts and opinions.
Boye Fajinmi is the Co-Founder and President of The Future Party, a brand offering a community-based media platform. He suggests focusing on a niche market as a startup has a higher chance of connecting with clients with this approach.
“Chances are, whatever your company is offering in terms of products, is not something entirely brand new to the public. Someone somewhere is your competition, and you’d do well to realize this. As a startup, you probably don’t quite have the recognition or capabilities to match what these established companies are doing. Instead of trying to fight a losing battle, think small for the time being. The world is a vast place and people are always looking for something highly specific to their needs. If you can position your startup to take advantage of this, you’ll be just fine.”
Be ready to adapt
Very few things in life go exactly according to plan. TakeUs is a business providing a unified access point to the NFT gaming and metaverse industry. Their CMO, Loic Claveau, advises others to realize this as they attempt to secure sales for their startups.
“Change and the business landscape are synonymous with each other – no two quarters are going to be the same and your products won’t always perform the way they did in the past. On top of this, if you think for even a second that the predictions and corresponding plans you made for the future will play out exactly how you specified, I promise you’ve set yourself up for disappointment. There’s really no way to plan for things along these lines so all I can really say is to be ready to adapt.”
Mode specializes in nano CBD products. Their Creative Director, Jorge Vivar, considers it necessary to pay close attention to what customers have to say about your products and company.
“Whenever you’re launching a new product or even retooling an older product, one of the most important questions to ask yourself is, ‘Who will this product potentially impact the most?’ Obviously, your answers will be different from another company’s but once you arrive at a true answer, your next course of action should be identical – listen carefully to the ideas, suggestions and especially complaints each person brings to the table. Any one of these things could be the springboard to bring about internal innovation that is accompanied by sales. Afterall, these people you’ll hopefully speak with are the people who will be buying your product.”
Prioritize your digital self
Anamika Goyal is the Head of Architecture and Design at Cottage, a brand offering customized ADUs. She cautions others not to neglect the immense influence caused by a carefully crafted online presence.
“The days of hoping the right person will walk by your storefront window are long gone. As they should be. As I see it, relying on mere chance will get you nowhere when trying to make a profit. The internet has come to a point where, between the number of users online, and the amount of information known about these people, locating your ideal customers shouldn’t prove too laborious. All this to say, make sure you prioritize your digital self, or appearance, or the people you’ve identified won’t stick around long enough to add an item to their cart.”
Involve your current customers
Technology has done nothing to erase the power of word of mouth. Caliber Games is a business providing backyard games for families and friends. Their Founder, Alex Carroll, proposes startups factor this into their sales strategy.
“Honestly, I don’t believe there is anything remotely wrong with asking your customers for referrals, provided you’re selling something of quality. It might even behoove you to offer incentives for passing along a good word. Another way to view this is to imagine your current customer base as an extension of your marketing department. If you find a way to get through to them with whatever it is your company does, they will usually find a way to tell others about it.”
Know your numbers
California Honey Vapes specializes in vapes, apparel, accessories, and batteries. Their CEO, Chris Coote, believes a thorough understanding of every aspect of the finances and inventory is essential.
“Sales and numbers go hand in hand. Without the right numbers, a company will find itself gasping for air. Without the requisite sales, those numbers will be the cause of something drastic. So how can you ensure this relationship is a healthy one? It starts with simply knowing your numbers. I’m talking about everything from the details of the current budget to the specifics of product management. From there, the way your company should handle sales, or improve them, should become apparent. But without first knowing what these numbers mean and how they affect you, this is impossible.”
The number of specific ideas for winning sales strategies for startups is great to say the least. Though this is beneficial to anyone trying to climb the startup mountain as each sales scenario is unique. Business management consultant Alice Heiman spoke to this, “There is no magic to closing. There are no magic phrases. Closing the deal is completely dependent on the situation.”