- Posted by Mark Elliott
- On November 16, 2017
- 2 Comments
At VA Partners we have worked with over 100 startups since our founding: a majority of these engagements have related to B2B startup sales. There are thousands more that we have touched through our work at organizations like Communitech, Innovation Factory, and Futurprenuer. Pushing your leads through the sales funnel and across the finish line is a hurdle, especially as a small startup. In our experiences, we’ve found that there are a few things needed in the sales process for short, medium, and long term success as a B2B startup sales team.
These are our top 5 B2B sales tips for startups and small businesses:
Use a CRM
If you sell a B2B solution you should be using a CRM. Cost should not be an issue with lots of CRM options available, from free to a few dollars a month. Our most recommended solution right now is the Hubspot Sales CRM. It is free, easy to use, and provides the right amount of management reporting for a small team.
Identify your ideal customer
We often come across startups that say their solution is for everyone. This is not a very efficient place to begin for a startup. Organizations should determine their ideal customer. This could include factors like industry, size, location, and much more. It is also important to understand the people involved in this buying decision and to build out buyer personas.
Most startups have revenue targets that they want or need to reach. Companies often do a poor job at developing other supporting goals that lead to sales. It can take weeks and in some cases years to close a specific opportunity. At the start of an organization’s sales cycle, it may take a rep a few months to close their first deal. Setting targets on the activities that lead to your sale can help identify challenges sooner and can make for faster, more frequent wins.
Everyone is in sales
When you work at a startup everyone is part of the sales team. Customers drive not only your revenue but are key to the development of your solution. Sales does not come naturally to everyone, but with a few simple tools, processes, and effort the entire team can help to drive sales. Make it is as easy as possible for team members to reach out to old colleagues or to deliver a value prop at a holiday party. The absence of customers means there can be no business.
Inspect what you expect
Startup founders have lots to do as it relates to the business. There is the product, the finances, HR, and a myriad of other tasks. It is important to stay connected to the sales effort. This means sitting with reps in meetings, listening to calls, having funnel reviews, and digging into the CRM. Inspect what you expect to keep the sales effort moving forward and also collect valuable information as it relates to your product or service.
If you have questions as you grow your B2B sales please connect with me and we can talk about it.