What is sales?
A sale is a conversation—like one of the many you have every day with your employees, investors, with friends and family. The only difference is that a sale is a conversation with a higher intensity and potentially a higher stake.
A sale is also a problem-solving process. In the world of technology, where products and services are built around the central idea to solve a problem, to sell means to offer a solution.
Therefore a sale is a conversation about how a problem can be solved. This is how you, as a founder should perceive the sales function.
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How and why people buy?
There are emotional and rational reasons behind every purchase decision.
When you’re selling to businesses, you are basically selling them the opportunity to make more money. Your product is successful if it makes them more productive – saves money or time, or helps them sell more. Your prospects will buy your product because they want to optimize time and budgets. These are the rational reasons motivating a purchase decision.
Simultaneously another process is happening in the background. Customers will choose your product vs. the one of your most fierce competitors because they like you and trust you. They see you as someone worth doing business with. This is the emotion-driven reason for a purchase decision.
What is the difference between B2B and B2C?
In the B2B industry you are selling to an organization, a business, a government or an NGO. Even though their purchase decision can have an emotional element, it is largely based on a rational evaluation of how your product or service solves their problem and what are the pros and cons compared to competitive solutions and alternative approaches.
Meanwhile the buying decision in the B2C sector can be entirely emotion-driven, especially for products that speak to users’ desires, dreams or aspirations.
It is important to recognize these differences, but the key is that as a B2B organization, you should put the productivity or budget gains in the center of your sales pitch.
Inbound or outbound-centric organization?
Have you thought about which sales approach – outbound or inbound is better for your business?
To answer this question you should answer the two questions below:
- What’s your current sales and marketing approach?
- How are your ideal customers buying?
If you are already driving sufficient traffic to your website and it is converting into sales, you are inbound-centered. This is usually the result of a strong content and SEO strategy. But even if you are driving tons of quality leads to your website, it doesn’t mean that you are successfully converting all great leads. The sales team you could start will be tasked to maximize the sales potential of these inbound leads.
The outbound approach on the other hand is when you are reaching out to the world. To go this way, you should assemble a team of business development representatives and account executives. They are the proactive sales developers force. Their job is to map your ideal customers in all relevant territories, proactively get in touch with them and follow through. The channels for reaching your prospective customers include cold-calling, cold-emailing and social interactions through LinkedIn or another relevant network platform.
Attending conferences and events can complement both your inbound and outbound efforts.
A good sale is a win-win situation. Really?
Some people will tell you that sales are a zero-sum game, meaning that for you to win something, the other part in the deal should give up something. But this is not how we advise you to do business and surely not how we do business.
When you are selling make sure you are creating a win-win situation. This means that you are investing in your long term relationship with the customer, which holds incomparably higher value than a one-time hit-and-run approach. Long-term customers bring recurring revenue and also new revenue, by referring you to other businesses they know can benefit from what you offer.
Last but not least when your relationships with clients are based on mutual trust you are creating a healthy and enjoyable environment for your team and yourself.
Summing up the sales mindset
Take some time to ask yourself these 3 questions critical to the survival and growth of your business:
Is my organization with a sales mindset? Read it, do I, as a founder, have developed a sales mindset?
Am I focused on having conversations with the right people about a problem they have?
How can I help them solve it, so that the outcome is equally beneficial for both sides?
Listen to what the other stakeholders in the company have to say and aim for authentic communication with them. At the end of the day, as Mark Cuban puts it “Sales cures all.” So you, as a founder, have to be focused there.
If you have questions or want to chat about your sales strategy, drop me a message at teofil [at] out2bound.com
CEO and Founder, Out2Bound