What are the assumptions?
The topic of sales is wide and large. There is outside sales, inside sales, B2B, B2C, enterprise sales. The sales were talking about has the following assumptions:
- Inside Sales. We are using software and people working remotely to reach out to potential customers.
- B2B. We build software for other businesses not consumers.
- Startups and SMBs. We are building software and services that have a short purchase cycle. We pitch the service and should close within a week once contact has been achieved.
- The company doing the sales in a startup with less than 6 people.
What is sales?
Sales is problem-solving with the objective of getting people to pay you money to solve that problem. To do sales well requires going after prospective customers who have the problem that you are solving, but don’t know that they have the problem, pitching them in a way that they can see themselves using the solution you are providing, and turning them into your customers.
Sales is NOT making people buy stuff as most people won’t buy from you. Period. The rule of thumb seems to be if you outreach a customer maybe 20% will respond, of those 20% maybe 1% convert to being a customer. This results in sales becoming a numbers game, a lot of prospective customers need to be reached for conversion of any sort.
What are you selling?
A product should have a single thing that is solved well. A job to be done. What is the job that the product or service is performing?
The focus should be always on a single thing. When a product does too many things the messaging gets muddled when pitching a prospect. We do x and y and z, makes the customer think you don’t do x or y or z well. In the era of unbundling of products, we live in, every product needs to be treated like an app. You go on Uber to get a ride, you go on UberEats to get food. The two apps serve different functions.
Who are you selling to?
Who your product is for affects how you do your pitch. If you a are reaching CTOs the pitch can be technical, if you are reaching CFOs, the pitch can be financial, etc. Honing in a product to a single customer segment and solving that customer’s segment super well is hyper important. People want to see themselves using the product so when you are reaching out to people they need to see themselves using the product.
What is the pitch?
The pitch is: “We do x for y” where x is the offering, and y is the customer segment you are going after.
Some examples are:
- opsZero is Kubernetes Expertise as a Service for Startups
- MakeProspect is a database of startups hiring software engineers for development agencies
By simplifying the pitch to the “we do x for y” approach it is much easier to orient all messaging and content around it.
The Sales Engine
– Two parts of sales
– Prospecting is the process of talking to people to sell them your “vision”.
– What is the world you are selling?
– What is an existing client
– Is to make that prospect into a customer.
What is Sourcing?
How do you Prospect?
– The most boring part of sales and the most important.
– Sales prospecting and inbound marketing lead people into the funnel where you can actively close them.
– Again this is for services.
– A lot of this process can be outsourced because it is just generally low value work.
– Upwork is a great place to find assistants to do so.
– Also you need to keep a CRM to do this. Excel and Google Sheets doesnt work. Use Pipedrive. It is cheap and great.
– Prospecting works like this:
– Figure out who the buyer is and reach out to them with the pain that they have that you are solving.
– I am not going to reach a financial company the same way i reach a health care company.
– They may be similar in a lot of ways but they buyers concerns are much different.
– You need a system to do prospecting otherwise you won’t do it at all.
– A weekly system where you reach out to 5 prospects of different personas. Seriously. Just start with 5. Even that if you’ve never done it will be nervewreacking.
– A way of reaching out to prospects.
– Use assistants or what not to do this work.
– It takes a lot of time to do research and data entry.
– But at the end of the day make sure you are the one that makes the call on who you are reaching out to, at the early stage.
– Our system
– 1. Have all entities go into our CRM.
– 2. Have assistant go through those and enter information and change status
– 3. I decide if those companies are who we should target. Persona / Anti-Persona and method of reaching out.
– 4. Reach Out
– A lot of it comes down to defining a buyer matrix.
– For my business I focus on 3 different types of companies for my outreach because I see myself fitting in with that group
– Health, Finance, Enterprise
– Define a buyer matrix for each of them.
– Each has a different concern even if they are the same.
– Figure out the best way to reach them.
– 80/20. Really hone in on the way that the persona looks for. If you can figure out the 20% that gives 80% of the value then that is great.
– Just as important. Define an anti-persona.
– These kinds of clients take up all your time.
– They suck to work with
– They prevent you from doing what you want to do.
– There is no reward with a referral or otherwise later on. So honestly a non sales benefit.
– Say you are not a fit. Most people want you to sell them. If you say hey we likely are not going to work well people are taken aback.
– Methods for reaching outreach
– Drip Campaigns
– Content Marketing
How do you Close?
– Lets start with the easy part. Closing.
– There is huge inertia for people to not do anything.
– Not doing anything is safe, you are the unknown.
– Don’t go in there with the assumption that you own the place, and you get a seat at the table. You have to earn that seat. And even then play hard to get, while delivering the value they seek.
– Simplify pricing. Don’t add random pricing and points where people have to think. Even if you are doing services keep things simple.
– We basically have two price points.
– Likewise, you will not be good at everything so the services you provide have to be specific. Don’t try to be generic. No one wants to get plumbing services from Starbucks.
– Being specialized is to your benefit. Creates a sense of trust and you are the expert.
– Go to a meeting prepared
– You have to go into a meeting PREPARED
– The best method I found is the Challenger Sales
– Dont be friends with your prospect
– Don’t try to woo them to you.
– Like a good partner in life, a good vendor is also someone that challenges you. Makes you think about your assumptions.
– If you keep telling them they are great, why do they need you?
– Challenge them into needing your solution.
– Read the following books:
– Challenger sales
– Never Split the difference
## Distribution Channels
This is the current implementation of a repeatable sales system. This system will evolve
– Challenger Sale
– SNAP Selling
– SPIN Selling
– Fanatical Prospecting
What is the sales closing process?
- Ask Questions, Lead Them
- Say Little, This is Therapy
- Slow Down, When Speaking
- Put Things in Customer Benefit
- Be funny 🙂
Step 1: The Warmer
“We are seeing the following three things at other companies like yours. Is there something you’d like to add? ”This is you are starting with a hypothesis of the company. What other companies have you worked at that face similar situations. Make it three things specifically
Get more data back.
Step 2: The Reframe
Need to have something to the customer which is a reframe. Not a I totally agree but a , “huh, that is interesting” It needs to SHOCK. If you fail to give this “huhhow interesting: then you failed the sale because they already though through of how to do it themselves. Time to break the news that their problems will not be solved with the solution they’ve imagined.*Get within their OODA cycle and throw them into chaos so that they have to reframe and reorient their decision making process around you.
Shock Them Have to create a huh / that’s right
Step 3: Rational Drowning
They need to really feel like that they need this solution. Make them consider the opportunity. Do not mention youself at all.Reframe it with solid data. Why is this important?
Give examples of why this is important
Step 4: Emotional Impact
Customer has to see themselves in the story you are telling with the solution.You have to paint a picture of other companies like the customer who went down a similar path by engaging in behavior that the customer will immediately recognize as typical of their own company.Help them glimpse into the future.During a successful Emotional Impact step, your audience will feel personally connected to your presentation because you’re giving them a scenario that resembles their own situation.*Relate to pain. Create a story that helps them feel the pain.What is the unhappy ending here?
Have them be in the picture but the ending doesn’t look good.
Step 5: A New Way
Talk about solutions not about you. Talk about what the solution can do. I.e What the capabilities of the new system would be. How to go about it.Convince them thow much better they would be if they acted differently.They have to buy a solution before they buy your solution.Tell alternate story with a happy ending.
Tell a solution.Something that could be generic.
Step 6: Our Solution
Demonstrate how our solution is much better than anything else out there. Tell them how we have experience in solving that exact need. How we have created a solution that allows them to figure out how to scale and grow.
Tell them how our solution is better.