The 3 Most Common Mistakes Startups Make When It Comes to Sales

Jul 25, 2018

Why do 9 out of 10 startups fail? Why do some companies with amazing products struggle to achieve their sales goals while others seem to be knocking it out of the park? The answers may surprise you and it’s definitely not rocket science. So let’s get to it.

#1:  No Onboarding Strategy For New Hires

How salespeople are onboarded is a critical factor when it comes to building sales success. If there is no real plan in place to set your new hires up to succeed from day one, then don’t expect a significant return on your investment.

Because of international competition and new technologies entering the market at a faster pace than ever, it has become increasingly difficult to win by product alone. The way your organization will win is by having a team that is well equipped to do what is expected of them. That  in turn will create value by the way they sell. They need to be a competitive advantage, as well as being able to sell a competitive advantage.

Here are some things to consider when developing your onboarding strategy:

Communicating the Company Mission and Goals:

The reason this is so important to define and communicate with the team is because they will start to work differently. Once they know the goal, they will align their day to day actions to move the needle toward the bigger picture. The sales team will be more confident when speaking to prospects and see themselves as problem solvers and value creators.

This is not only for sales; this is for all departments. By doing this early-on, the natural by- product is a company culture that thrives because everyone is working toward a common goal, instead of each department working in silos.

Product Knowledge:

Believe it or not most startups do not spend enough time getting new employees up to speed on what they are selling. It’s expected that they learn the product on their own time. Usually this is due to a lack of resources within the organization and deciding on who will actually train them.  Having new hires watch an engineer or other team member do a demonstration of the product is not good enough. EVER!

All employees MUST know the product inside out. As well as why it’s better than any perceived competitor, how it solves problems and alleves pain points. Having a well oiled knowledgeable sales team will breed confidence to potential buyers and in turn deliver results for the company.  #Win/Win

#2. No Customer Onboarding Strategy

One of the make or break elements when it comes to the overall success of businesses is a well thought out customer experience strategy.  In order to have a profitable business and year after year growth, it is CRITICAL to have happy satisfied customers. Those are the ones who come back year after year, as well as tell others about how AWESOME a company is.

It takes so much time and resources to attract customers and it’s equally as important to invest in retaining them.

Many startups do not have a well documented post sales strategy. It is usually assumed that people in the organization will know what to do and that’s when the dangerous game of hot potato begins. Don’t make that mistake!

Things businesses should consider when creating a post sales process document:

  1. What happens once the client signs off? Are they then introduced via email to an Account Manager, Accounting Dept, Training department or Project Manager? Maybe all four?
  2. What is the action required by each department once the introduction is made? Schedule training within 24 hours? Set up dashboard within 48 hours? Schedule kick off call within 24 hours? Email invoice within 12 hours?
  3. What needs to be documented in the CRM or system used to store customer information? Copy of the contract? All communication? Contact info?
  4. Does the client know who to contact if they need support or have any questions?
  5. How is the customer notified of any product or software updates?
  6. What is the renewal process? How far in advance of renewing services is a customer notified. Who owns this?

#3: Demonstrating the Wares Too Soon

Too many sales have been lost because a salesperson or business owner jumped on the opportunity to present their goods and talk about their company and technology, without a clear understanding of what the prospects needs were.

We all know what it feels like to be trapped in a bad presentation. Your mind wanders, and it’s impossible to focus on what the presenter is saying. Please – don’t put prospects through that!

The presentation is a moment to shine, wow prospects, and convert them into happy customers.

Here are 3 very important things to keep in mind regarding  a product demonstration:

  1. It’s about them.  Unfortunately it is common practice and witnessed time and time again that the majority of the talking is done by the presenter and most of the information given is about their own company. This is the best way to lose an audience.
  2. Do not show all the product features and focus on the technology. The audience should leave feeling that their pain points were addressed, relevant information was shared based on their needs, and the product is the best choice to help them achieve their objective.
  3. Slow down. What’s the rush? Many presenters seem to rush through a product demo. Instead they should take their time, be engaging, and not sound robotic. It’s also important to check  in with everyone during the presentation, see how they are feeling, and if they have any questions. Have fun with it! The audience will appreciate it and it will make the presentation stand out from other vendors they are vetting to win their business.

Want a step-by-step guide on how to craft the perfect demo? You’ll learn exactly what you need to do to turn your prospects into customers, including how to get the most out of a discovery session, and how to end each demo in a way that ensures a follow-up call.

I put together this free guide specifically for startups, so please take advantage of this free resource and get your own copy now: https://coltivareconsulting.mykajabi.com/p/product-demo

Vaneet Johal

If you would like more information or have any questions, feel free to book a complimentary consultation call. I’m happy to help in your quest to cultivate sales growth for your business. You can schedule a time here https://vaneet.youcanbook.me/ or email me at vaneet@coltivare.ca