Imagine this situation – one day you have a great idea for good software. You start to code, work all night long and yes – it’s finally finished! But then you ask yourself – ok I’ve created my dream program but I need to profit from it, right? What do you need to do? Yes, you need to sell it and this could be much harder than creating the product itself!
When you work for a startup you must go through all type of sale processes – both outbound and inbound.
Based on my own experience I will give you few advices how to sell in a startup.
How to sell in a Startup: Outbound
Outbound Sales – it means you are doing the first contact with a client. In my scenario we will discuss cold mailing-the first email which you send to the Client which know nothing about your product.
- First email must have proper structure:
- Say hello using first name of the receiver (for ex. Hello Monica)
- Write first two sentences with information about you product – what is this, how does it work and what benefits can bring to Clients company
- Include in the last sentence a call to action (for ex. with link to your website)
- Write a goodbye word
- There should be two follow ups
- In the first one mention that you didn’t received answer, show again benefits of your product and in the end use call to action
- In second follow up you must prove that you show respect to Client’s and your own time. You should write “To respect my and your time please let me know about your decision…” and then use again a call to action and goodbye
- Send follow ups as forward message
- At the beginning of cold calling it’s quantity over quality, so send as much emails as possible (these are called email blasts) – observe click rate, open rate etc. and experiment with the email content.
- Try to modify the content of the email so they will fit the target audience. Content will be different for Project Managers and Scrum Masters.
How to sell in a Startup: Inbound
Inbound Sales – simply to explain, it’s the type of sales where the Client make first contact with you, for ex. by registering on your website
- Try to create as personalized mail as possible for. ex say hello with the name and add Company name in content to increase conversion
- Try to reply to a Client’s email as fast as possible (up to 15 min) to increase chances to receive reply.
- Create nice signature with photo, links to social media websites etc.
- Write clearly and don’t write too much
- If Client does not reply-do one follow up after 2-3 days
- Prepare different templates and personalize them before sending – this will save you a lot of your time
Demo Meeting (for example using Google Hangout)
- Be confident
- Speak slowly and clearly
- Before presentation check profile of the Client (LinkedIn), analyze his needs and show him that you product is the thing which he need.
- During presentation make short break after showing each sections and ask Client does he have any questions.
- After presentation – let him comment it and answer all his questions-the important thing is to let him speak and gather as much information as possible and use it in future deal.
- If you don’t know the answer for some question – don’t panic! You don’t need to know everything. Simply answer that you don’t know but you’ll try to find answer later and send it via his email.
- After Demo send email with short Summary of presentation and with contact to you.
Making phone calls
- At the beginning of conversation, introduce yourself, say from which company you are and ask if the Client have time to speak – if not make a arrangement for a next call.
- Be calm and kind
- Try to find common language with Client. Make a small joke. Do short offtopic talk, to create good atmosphere.
- Don’t ask too many questions. Let him do the talk and gather information from him.
- Most importantly – DON’T BE AFRAID! I know that on the beginning can be hard, but remember that on the other side there is human being like you and he will not bite you. Keep Calm and make a phone call 😉
- Don’t give up so easily when people are not answering you back. Simple do follow up after few days. People on high positions are very busy and they simply don’t have time
- If you cannot contact Client via email or phone – try social media like LinkedIn or Twitter. Remember- don’t blast Client with messages – this will simply irritate him and you gain opposite effect.
- My personal advice and I think the most important rule – RESPECT YOUR CLIENT! Keep your promises. If you say that you’ll reply to him in time – do that. Don’t lie to him. People remember thing, so if you’ll respect them, they will respect you.
- Be future-oriented and patient. Some deals (especially in large corporations) take lot of time, stay in contact with Client and keep you fingers crossed 🙂
These are all just general advices how to sell in a startup. Sales is a huge topic and it includes many different areas.
For more questions you can always contact me by email: