Startup Guide: The Top 4 Sales Must-Haves In 2022
Getting your sales strategy right as a startup is key. If you want to know where to start, this article will explain key concepts, like getting your value proposition right, what tech stack to implement, how to grow your sales team and when to start doing outbound sales.
Keep reading to find out the top 4 sales team must-haves in 2022.
Nail Your Value Proposition
What problems are you solving for your customers and how can you convert this into a powerful sales tool? Hopefully, as a startup, you have identified a clear need in the market for your product or service by consulting with your target audience.
From this activity, you should have some insights into what your customers’ problems or pain points are and be able to create a solid value proposition.
A value proposition is a simple statement that summarises why a customer would choose your product or service. It communicates the clearest benefit that customers receive by giving you their business. Every value proposition should speak to a customer’s challenge and make the case for your business as the problem-solver.
Struggling to create one? Start with these three simple exploratory steps.
Who are you serving?
What is their problem?
How can you help?
Once you have this core information (you may have more than one if you have a range of products and services) you can expand on it. Here’s an example of a value proposition canvas created by Hubspot:
We would recommend you undertake this activity as part of a team workshop, involving your sales leaders, marketing team and operations.
Once you have nailed your value proposition you can use this to develop a range of sales materials, marketing content, and even tailored landing pages about your products and services to your target audience. This is one of the top sales team must-haves you don’t want to miss.
Put Together a Sales Tech Stack
Technology is the backbone of your success. Your team needs it to get their jobs done, and you need it to help them do it well. You also need it to scale marketing and sales, manage financials, and keep your mind clear so you can focus on what matters most: growing the business. Make sure you take this into consideration as part of your top sales team must-haves in 2022.
A CRM is designed to take in new information about leads, prospects, and customers, and add it into a database that is easily accessible by your sales team. It helps to keep track of all leads so that closing deals become less of an arbitrary game of chance, and more about following up on opportunities consistently over time.
Nothing beats the power of CRM. It is the central hub for all businesses who want to get control of their pipeline and close more sales. From prospecting and lead management to tasks and task delegation, it’s all there in one package that works alongside your team as they go out there to make sales.
Some examples of good CRM’s for startups are Active Campaign, Pipedrive, and Hubspot.
Sales Engagement Tools
Sales can seem like a numbers game at times. But truly, sales is more about listening as much as possible to your target market. Understanding your customer and what they’re looking for is key to making an impact on your sales growth.
However, how do you reach your prospective customers in the first place? Many startups struggle with the concept of outbound sales and where to start with it.
We’ve written a blog about the best sales engagement tools but as a startup, we would recommend you start with some easy-to-use tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and then explore your best channels through some trial and error activities.
Sales channels to consider include email marketing/automation, social media platforms, LinkedIn prospecting and telephone communications. These outbound channels can be very effective depending on your target customer and what they will respond to.
Grow your Sales Team
Hiring the right salespeople is key to your business’s success. But how do you select the best candidate for the job, who will fill every role on your sales team?
In sales, it’s often more about what kind of person you’re hiring than how much experience they have. Because it involves dealing with different types of personalities, understanding potential candidates’ strengths and weaknesses is paramount to success.
What Sales Role?
The first thing you need to figure out before hiring a salesperson is what exactly you’re looking for in a candidate.
Are they going to be focused on inbound sales enquiries and converting them via a product demo? Does your service involve a more consultative sales approach? Do you have very long sales cycles or do you require high volumes of sales on a regular basis? Do they need to undertake a range of account management tasks or are they going to be focused purely on new business hunting?
Once you know that, you’ll have a better idea of what should qualify as “good enough” when it comes to resumes, phone screens, and in-person interviews.
How To Find New Hires?
As you start to advertise your roles, it’s important to consider where you might find them. LinkedIn and job boards are great places to start, but many businesses partner with agencies that can help find the right people for their roles.
If you are going down the agency route we would recommend you identify a specialist recruiter, such as D2E recruitment who provides ethical recruitment for cleantech solutions.
Alternatives to Recruitment
Do you need to bring in full-time hires just yet? If your start-up is very early stage or just received its first funding round then it may be too early days to bring on a full sales team when you are pre-revenue.
Here’s some options to consider:
- Outsource some of your sales and marketing functions to specialist agencies that can enhance your existing core team with their skills and insights.
- Hire freelancers to work with you on sales activities and tasks, ensuring they become an embedded part of your team whilst they do so.
- Re-organise your existing team members by creating a sales and marketing strategy that they can deliver against. This will require some existing team resources, ensuring they have enough time to dedicate to pure sales activities (we would recommend at least 1-2 days per week initially) and the skill set to implement them properly.
High-Performance Sales Team Insights
We’ve put together an insight piece about how to grow a high-performance sales team and also recorded an hour-long webinar with experts to help you manage this element of your sales growth. A must-watch for your top sales team must-haves list.
Starting Outbound Sales Activities
You can have all the necessary tools and team in place but until you start proactively selling then your pipeline will not grow! Be aware it can take 6-12 months to see results if you are going into the market for the first time, so do not wait until it’s too late to get some traction.
So our advice is to just make a start as soon as possible. Here’s our top 10 tips for starting outbound sales activities:
- Set some clear targets and goals for what you want to achieve.
- Identify a niche area of your target market to approach first and decide what you are going to focus on (if you have a range of products and services).
- Get sales materials, messages and emails and a calendar booking system ready to go.
- Have some marketing activities and content created which will complement the outbound sales activity and keep your business front of mind to prospective customers.
- Spend a dedicated amount of time on a weekly basis undertaking outbound sales such as calls, emails and online prospecting.
- Enter all activities into a CRM system.
- Review activities after around 4 weeks to determine if and what needs changing.
- Seek advice and coaching from experienced salespeople as required.
- Have patience! It takes time to build a sales pipeline from a cold start.
- Persevere and don’t give up. We recommend spending at least four months on outbound sales activities on a consistent basis to see results.
Key Takeaways: How to Build Sales For Your Startup
Your sales activity is what will make the difference from stagnating to growing fast.
As a startup, the majority of your effort needs to be getting your products and services into the hands of your customers.
Building an effective sales function takes more than finding salespeople. It includes developing, training, and equipping them with effective sales tools. There’s no denying that it can be a difficult process, but getting it right from the get-go can set your business up for long-term success like nothing else.
These are some of the top sales team must-haves in 2022, did you consider all of them?
If you want to learn more about sales and how to grow your team and scale your business, check our resources pages.