Sales Tips for Technical Startup Founders
You can develop the best product or service, but your startup certainly won’t survive if no one knows about it or understands the value. But, there are easy ways to jumpstart your sales and build the momentum you need, even if you are working on a technical product that is not easy to understand. This is an excruciating point, especially for founders with a highly technical product and when your customer base is the general public. To overcome this problem, it is vital to identify the low-hanging leads to achieve a successful sales conversation.
Identifying the Low-hanging Leads
Create an Ad Hoc SalesForce: When developing a sales strategy, it is important to create an ad hoc sales force. By “ad hoc,” I mean the sales force has to be dedicated to a specific type of project. For example, if your goal is to sell your technical product, it would be ideal to have a small, low-cost staff of technical product sales representatives who are ready to go out and solve problems. Then, if a user-acquired product is a goal, you could hire a professional sales staff to work on the product, not just selling it.
Meetups or Product Fests: Another way to find low-hanging leads is by attending product showcases, product festivals, and meetups. At these events, you can meet the enthusiasts of your industry in a very condensed amount of time with a very high return.
The Value Proposition
Although you should spend most of your time coming up with the most suitable product or service for your customers’ needs, remember that you should not focus on how you present your value proposition. It would help if you focused on offering your customers something more than the product or service itself. That makes the overall selling process less complicated, and one-on-one conversations can get easier as you can focus on what you want the customer to do. A great example of a value proposition is Spotify’s “I don’t want you to think I’m getting money from this!” It speaks to the ability to enjoy music without any concerns about how the music was produced. They specifically focused on the message that they do not want to take advantage of the customers by monetizing the music. Be very strategic when creating your value proposition.
Developing a Language to Sell
Many salespeople will develop exceptionally thick jargon to convince their customers. For this reason, salespeople may get lost in the middle of conversations and be distracted. Always listen and don’t try to dominate the conversation. Always include your solution in the conversation. If the conversation is about your competition or products that already exist, answer the question. If the conversation is about technical solutions and tools, explain the specific features your solution has. You can resort to tools such as Q&A sessions where you can discuss issues such as “How does a developer solve a problem?” It is usually about a need, a pain point, an ongoing issue. The buyer’s solution is solving this problem. We all have pain points. Developers come from different backgrounds. So, the way to solve problems varies.
Closing the Sale
For non-technical products, you can build a broad, long-tail sales funnel that delivers prospective customers to your company’s homepage, using a variety of high-quality persuasive messages to close the deal. For example, Amazon won the trust of millions of customers through its attractive, highly credible ads and the excellent customer service that customers received throughout the years. To make this case, I recommend following the four-step sales funnel model: Awareness, Interest, Decision, Action. Using current information and insight, consider as many potential customers as possible and look for areas of weakness and opportunities to fill in the gaps. This allows you to pitch to potential customers close to the pain and benefit your solution can bring.
One of the most complex and challenging things about starting a tech business is the lack of a laid-out revenue model due to the complicated nature of the product. Even if you have a fully functional product, it can be hard to get people first to understand it and then pay for it. While you may have the most exciting or technically superior idea, you must also develop ways and narratives to get paid for it.