- Posted by Randy Hendriks
- On October 24, 2018
- 0 Comments
The hardest sale to make in the B2B sales can be your first one. Here are five ways to make closing that first sale a little easier:
1. Identify and Connect with Warm Contacts
If you’re playing the long game (which you should be) you’ll be developing relationships with potential buyers long before you have a product to sell. Think back through the industry partners, friends, family, and other networking contacts which you’ve had encouraging conversations with in the last year. Hopefully you’ve keep track of these contacts in a CRM like HubSpot and have been staying in touch with timely updates. If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile recently, take some time to freshen it up. Reach out to your first-degree industry contacts in LinkedIn and give them an update on your product, even if you’re not ready to sell yet.
2. Work on Pilots
Without industry validation it can be hard to convince a business lead (friend or not) to make a financial commitment. No one said your first sale needs to be a big one. Consider staging your sales offering with a pilot phase, therefore de-risking the opportunity. Even if the contract isn’t financially lucrative, you’ll receive valuable feedback and hopefully a testimonial or customer success story you can leverage for future sales.
3. Know the Length of Your Sales Cycle
While most B2B Startups have a theoretical knowledge of their industry sales cycle length, they may not have integrated that knowledge into their sales planning and budgeting. We’ve had prospective clients tell us that their sales cycle is five or six months, and in the next sentence ask us how many deals we plan to close in the first two months of our engagement with them. Knowing the length of your sales cycle will help you realistically plan and budget accordingly. Dan Martell lists the following stats for average days in the SaaS Sales Cycle:
- < $5K: 40.1
- $5K-$10K: 62.2
- $10K-$50K: 84.1
- $50K-$100K: 116.6
- >$100K: 169.6
These reflect established companies with a track record of sales. Plan to have a sales cycle at least this long. You don’t need to wait until your product is “finished” before you start selling. If you have a website, start collecting names and building a mailing list of potential prospects.
4. Prepare Your Sales Collateral
One of the first things that we do at VA Partners when developing our sales and marketing fast start plan with new clients is review their current sales collateral. You want to make sure there is a clear value proposition and call to action on your website and marketing materials. Depending on the industry you are targeting you may need further resources including a PDF one-pager, white-paper documentation to support your claims, and a slide deck. Be sure to make sure you’ve established branding guidelines so there is consistency throughout your materials.
5. Know Your Best Vertical
A vertical refers to the niche target market you have identified to sell into. Many startups have products that can be used by targets in a number of different industry verticals. Start with the one where you have gotten the most positive traction, or at least, friendly feedback. Developing good sales collateral will cost much time and money. It’s important to direct that material as precisely as possible to your target market. It can be time consuming enough plumbing the depths of one specific vertical; don’t spread yourself too thin in the beginning.
Keeping these five suggestions in mind, you will be well on your way to closing your first B2B sale. If you would like to talk about how VA Partners can help you grow your sales please contact me.