6 Steps to Establish the First Sales Process for your Startup

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One of the most challenging things for startups is to successfully design their sales process. Many startups vanish before they close their first sale. This is because they don’t have a well-defined and systematic approach to earn customers. Startups must establish a structured and methodical sales process to get business and assure predictable results.

In fact, there is an 18% difference in revenue growth between companies that defined a formal sales process and companies that didn’t. The implementation of an efficient sales process could help in:

  • Planning your sales flow with each prospect
  • Deciding which sales techniques to use
  • Getting desired and predictable outcomes

Random acts in sales produce random and uncertain results. But with a proper sales process, a startup can close more deals, increase margins and make more sales through referrals.

Below are 6 steps to follow for building a sales process to get those early startup sales-

Understand your Buyers and their Buying Process

Don’t design your sales process from your point of view. Instead, make it a customer-centric process. Try to gauge your ideal customer’s buying process by interviewing them. Understand the steps they take to make a purchase. This will make sure that you have the necessary steps in your sales process to address the customer’s issues which need to be catered before they will purchase from you. Your sales process must account for how your buyers want to purchase.

But before speaking with a prospect, you must research about him and figure out if it’s worth of your time to engage with this particular prospect. You should identify if this prospect

  • Actually need my product?
  • Can afford my product?
  • Is open to purchase my product?

This way you can decide if the prospect is a good fit for your company that could result in sales.

Do not Wait to Sell

Begin your customer outreach as early as possible. No need to wait until your product is completely ready or launched. Communicate with your customers and try to determine their challenges and sales objections that you might face. This will also help you to learn the best way to communicate with your prospects as well as to get customer feedback about your product, so that you have time to refine your product before launching it in the market.

Learn from your First Sale

Your first customer can teach you a lot. It can give you a benchmark as to how long it takes to close a deal, are people willing to pay the price you quote and how easy and comfortable it was to use your product. These scenarios will aid in establishing an accurate sales process by identifying gaps and taking measures to correct them.

Define Qualification Criteria

Startups often find it difficult to identify correct leads. They don’t know whether a prospect is a good fit for their product or service. Before qualifying prospects, you must know certain things about them such as:

  • What are their pain points and how my product can solve them?
  • Is my product cost-effective and fits in their budget?
  • Are they using my competitor’s product?
  • What is their buying process?

In addition to these standard questions, you can also ask additional questions that are important to your particular company to make sure they are in your target market.

Also, after closing a few deals, you can re-evaluate your qualification criterias and determine if they need to be expanded or cut down.

Set up a Conversion Funnel

Conversion funnel is a multi-step campaign that seamlessly and subtly leads a prospect toward a desired action. It goes like cold prospects -> leads -> prospects -> customers -> repeat customers. Leads can be found over internet or through cold calling, emailers or events. But the real challenge is not in finding new leads, but in moving these leads down the sales funnel and closer to making a purchase. You can manage the sales funnel by developing sales metrics appropriate for your business.  Knowing your conversion rate is a first step in understanding how your sales funnel is performing and what marketing avenues are giving the greatest return on investment. Don’t keep your goal too large in the beginning. Instead start with an attainable goal and once you have reached your goal, start increasing the goal by a certain percentage with each coming month.

As you gain experience in working with customers and sales processes, you can create your own version of the sales funnel, complete with specific steps and actions to move prospects from stage to stage.

Define the Underlying Technology

In order to make the sales process scalable, you must automate the way information flows from one step to another. For this, you require the right technology and sales enablement tools to increase sales and drive business growth. For example, a CRM software that tracks customer contacts and capture information about customers is a must for startups to nurture customer relationships.