8 Deadly Sales Mistakes that Every Startup Must Avoid


Achieving early sales success is in the top of every startup founder’s mind as it is the key not just to his startup’s growth but to survival as well. Effective sales is crucial to keep a business afloat and thus takes a lot of a business owner’s time. During the early years of business, when you don’t have a full-fledged sales team at your rescue, attaining growth through efficient sales activities requires a lot of effort and hard work.

However, in the quest of reaching success in the early years of the business, we often notice salespeople or business owners becoming desperate and committing some common sales mistakes. Most of the times, people fail to sell not because they can’t or because they are not laborious, but because they make one or more of these 8 sales mistakes mentioned below.

Not Following up to Engage New Leads

Many salespeople don’t engage with new leads as soon as they get them. In fact, they must follow-up with new leads as early as possible with an automated pitch introducing the brand, offerings and why someone should buy from you. This can help the leads to set clear expectations from the company. Also, following up initially with leads- by sending an invitation for a webinar, link to download educational content or setting up a demo- will aid you in qualifying them as to whether they are a good fit for your product. By engaging with the prospects on a frequent basis enables you to judge their buying intention and hence categorize them into hot, warm and cold leads. You can easily prioritize your prospects and decide whom to pitch when.

Not Automating Common Sales Tasks

Automating repetitive manual tasks can free up the time and bandwidth of sales representatives to focus on important tasks and make more sales conversions. Investing in a powerful CRM system will eliminate the risk of forgetting to follow-up with a prospect. It will also help you in having a more meaningful discussion with your prospect over a phone call as all the necessary information and past interactions of the prospect is present for you to refer. All in all, a CRM helps you to manage your leads in an effective manner and also increases your productivity.

Saying “Yes” Always

The biggest sales mistake is saying “yes” to everything. When a potential customer makes requests, many sales professionals tend to agree to them. They think saying “no” could decrease their chances of selling. But the truth is that you can’t deliver everything. This  could also make your prospects more demanding and cost you severe time and money. Simply learn to say “no” if you find the request to be unreasonable. This will surely aid you in onboarding more happy customers and won’t add unnecessary stress to your business.

Sticking to the Pitch Firmly

Entrepreneurs and salespeople often rely too much on their sales presentations and try to stick to them tightly. They pay little or no attention to the client’s reaction and try to cover each and every slide of the presentation not leaving any minute detail. They get so much engrossed into their sales pitch that sometimes they fail to capture critical buying signals.

Having a proper sales pitch and giving a presentation is important, but do not attempt to dictate the meeting. Instead, present your offering in a right manner by mentioning how it can help the prospect and try to make your product look favourable to them.

Building a Sales Process not Relevant to your Market

The sales process that you followed in your last job might not work for your current market or customers. Learn who your target demographic is and draft a sales process that aligns with how your customers want to buy. What all stages they go through to develop the need and how they make buying decisions- all these points should be taken care of while designing your sales process. Every customer move ahead with the sales process differently and you will have to gauge the same to make an effective sales process. This will improve your sales conversion rates for sure.

Not Following up with Leads who said “NO” at first

A successful sales representative can’t afford to leave the prospects who were not converted initially. Having a good follow up strategy and delivering value in the form of educational tips, helpful videos and updates about your latest products can help you build healthy rapport afterwards. Buying motivations change with time and regularly communicating with potential clients, who didn’t buy from you initially, can change their minds in your favour.

Not Knowing When and How to Close

If someone tries to close too early, he might end up losing a remarkable opportunity. On the other hand, wait too long to close and your competitor will grab the potential client right out of your hands. Rushing into it is definitely not recommended as sales is about building long-term customer relationships. It is better to understand the prospects properly-their challenges and requirements, learn about their business and demonstrate how your solution can offer value to them. Being too quick or too slow can ruin your chances of securing a sale.

Establishing a Large Sales Team too Quickly

In the beginning of their establishment, startups are not very clear about what they will be doing, what sales process they will follow, how they will get leads or how they will succeed. They don’t even know whether they require an inside sales team or simply hiring a field sales team will do the job. So, before you know the criticalities of selling and overall market dynamics, building a big sales team could be expensive and sheer waste of time and energy.