The still young digital era with its revolutionary ideas is changing the world faster than ever before. Some start-ups are conquering international markets within a very short time. But many fail to make the breakthrough. They overestimate their sales targets and have to go through ever new rounds of financing to compensate for the lack of revenue. Even the most innovative ideas and concepts do not sell themselves. In the B2B environment in particular, it is the sales reality that determines the success of the business model. Here are four sales basics that should be take into consideration.
1. Clarify: Who is my customer?
Especially start-ups have to think carefully about which customers they want to address and in what order. A clear customer segmentation is important, e.g. by industry, company size and region. Ideal target customers for the start are those customers who have the greatest need. They are the easiest to win. Typical mistakes at the beginning are blurred ideas or even exaggerated fantasies. Customer contacts from the personal network often suggest a supposedly high demand. A benevolent environment can convey a false image. Only an objective and precise definition of the most important target customers can initiate market success.
2. Work out the value proposition
Many founders in digital B2B business avoid the view of the more informed customer in the digital world. The customer of today is online on all digital channels. With a smartphone in his hand, he wants to be informed quickly. He compares prices and services, buys and pays online and is not fooled by an “X for a U”. He wants to understand quickly and is more willing to change than ever.
Business owners often view the market outlook too much from the developer’s own, more technical perspective. However, the only guarantee for success is the “value proposition”. The old rule applies: the worm must taste good to the fish, not the angler. How can the new solution bring real added value to the customer? Only a crystal-clear focus on customer benefit ensures the success of the sales force.
3. Create the right sales processes
Many entrepreneurs do not yet have a clear idea of how to create efficient processes in sales. For example, they neglect questions such as in which sequence and with which messages e-mails are sent, when to call and when to follow up, and when on-site appointments or online demos can be made. Depending on the market, a decision must also be made as to what type of sales staff will be deployed: What tasks will the office staff perform, possibly with the support of a call centre? How is the interface to the field service / key account management, if at all, needed?
An ideal process can only be achieved if the concepts are systematically tested. After all, the available budget must not be mis-invested. Many waste their money more or less spontaneously with all kinds of activities. If the desired success does not materialize, the money is gone and with it the chance to optimize sales.
And it is not that difficult. Whether at the beginning or only after a long period of experience: with systematic “trial and error”, every start-up can massively improve its chances on the market. In this way, a sales organization optimized through trial and error can be developed and on this basis the scalability of the business model can be ensured.
4. Use sales material and sales software sensibly
The importance of the quality of the information material used is usually underestimated. Special care must be taken with presentations, web content and press releases. Sales materials must also reflect the customer’s view, highlight customer benefits in a simple form and look attractive. Technical terms must not dominate, the texts must be simple and understandable.
Especially start-ups in the digital world gain their USP from the developed software technology. It is therefore of great importance to network their own software with helpful software tools such as Customer Relationship Management Systems to retain customers and Sales Acceleration Technologies to gain valuable leads.