Just finished my Perfect Push-up & Pull-up workout. Now it’s time for the 2nd startup shift – you know the one where you squeeze in everything you can until you just can go anymore kinda shift. Is it really all about working smarter, working longer or just a matter of making progress and getting things done to get the snow ball rolling? Honestly, I don’t really know yet ’cause I’m trying to get snow ball compact enough so it starts rollin’ faster and faster.
Well, what I’d like to share tonight is a couple of observations that I’m experiencing and seeing right now working with 4 different startups including my own. Each of these companies are in slightly different stages but all trying to find their optimal product/market fit. What I have been seeing for the past couple of years working with startups is that they all lack a systemized sales process that works for their business.
Mind you that each of these companies have smart people behind them and many of them are technicians or subject matter experts in their own right. And, I guess this is one of the things that makes building a startup company so hard. You just have to know and do so many things and you have to do them well enough until you can get to the next level so that you can hire someone better than you.
So, sales process. Fortunately for me, I’ve been involved in big corporate cultures and startups working directly with customers and what I’ve found to be most valuable is that if you truly communicate the value and benefit of your product/service to “the right customer” in a systematic fashion you can usually get to the point of making the act of selling second nature. Still, this takes a lot of listening to and understanding what your customer is telling you they want to buy – often times not what you think you’re selling. This applies to online and traditional sales funnels.
Consider the following two 5 step sales models. The first comes from E-Myth’s 5 Steps to Smarter Selling, which is more relative to a traditional face-to-face transaction. The second comes from Lean Startup & Customer Development Methodology and uses a web analytics company as the example. They are different in some respects but they both are focused on listening and learning as the key activity of the sales process. To me, the most important attribute that the Lean Start Methodology takes further is the detail of identifying common or anticipated outcomes from each stage or customer response and a plan to measure or learn from the customers action or inaction. This is critical to adapting and making your sales process more efficient.
Since these graphics are a lot to take in I’ll pause an let you read and reflect what’s on you mind in the comments below.
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