In this episode you will hear about:
- how to break through and successfully implement sales in a startup
- ways to increase sales when you do not have the money for expensive campaigns
- tips for building a sales team
- marketing and sales relations, as well as the essence of feedback in a startup
“We had great ambitions to create this unicorn. It quickly turned out that it is not that easy, because the startup road is not all roses – it is more like two steps forward and one step back ”- Magda Holak pours a bucket of cold water on us at the very beginning. While developing the Evryplace startup, we went through all phases of the startup’s development. She emphasizes that this is a fascinating path, but requires a lot of effort.
Selling innovations is difficult because it requires educating the market. Typical activities are important, but according to Magda, a story about the product, what it is for, what problems it solves, how it can be used, plays a big role in selling a new product that someone does not know yet. It is this way of education that our expert points out as a factor that distinguishes the process of selling innovation from the standard one.
Avoid these mistakes
A common mistake made by startups is to focus solely on technology, skipping the sales and marketing budget. Especially focusing on the greatest possible amount and variety of functionalities of our product may end up … a waste of money. In a startup, it is worth preparing an MVP – then we can quickly verify with the market whether the direction we have chosen is good, collect feedback and plan further product development. This way of operating means that we have better money, it is easier for us to find finances for sales and marketing in the budget.
And how to get valuable feedback and how to use it? According to our expert, the important factor is a targeted, well-chosen group of customers – the one to whom we ultimately want to sell the product. And if so, then we should adapt the functionalities to this specific target group.
How to make a sale in a startup? According to Magda, using regular methods: to know what is selling, who is buying – to target a group of recipients, prepare basic marketing materials, use all available methods of automated sales. A mistake made by startups is choosing the sales model at the end – and it is very important whether we sell our product B2B or B2C. This has a large impact on the time of return of our investment or the very manner of conducting marketing activities. Regardless of the sales model, however, Magda indicates patience, regularity, relationships and modern tools as the four principles that should be followed by every startup when launching its product on the market.
MVP and sales
When should a startup start selling? Here we come back to the topic of building an MVP – this will allow us to show the product to the market as soon as possible, and thus verify it with the client, get the so-called early adopters. Such action will also be beneficial when there is a need to pivot – firstly – we realize it faster, secondly – we risk less financial contribution. However, Magda warns against a false start, because it always has long-term consequences – this applies to both the company and innovative technology. Magda mentions her experiences with the Evryplace product and the VR industry.
When it comes to methods and tools, Magda recommends taking a closer look at growth hacking, which favors the development of sales and marketing in a creative way for both the B2B and B2C market, and assumes creativity and unconventionality with a relatively low financial outlay. This method has helped many Silicon Valley startups succeed, for example Airbnb.
Magda also emphasizes the importance of activities in social media. At the moment, they have enormous power and, in her opinion, a startup should take advantage of it. The expert also recommends free knowledge sharing – webinars, e-books, thanks to which we can present our product and, in addition, collect leads and new customers.
Synergy of the sales and marketing team
There is no sales without marketing and there is no marketing without sales – Magda emphasizes the value of synergy between these activities. When to build a sales and marketing team in a startup with limited financial and human resources? You should think about what competencies are necessary inside the team and choose its members accordingly, as well as consider which tasks can be outsourced – this solution is usually much cheaper than hiring a specific specialist in our company, and additionally allows us to draw on external knowledge and experience partner. When building a team, one must pay attention to a common vision and mission, cultural coherence and diversity of competences. It is important to correctly choose personalities, because in a startup, a team must always be able to count on itself.
Magda emphasizes that building a startup is a very exciting activity, but patience is the key here. Running a startup is a lot of changes, a lot of decisions, sometimes a few steps back – it can be discouraging. And when deciding to start a startup, you have to patiently wait for the results of our work.
Startup Starter – knowledge, inspiration, advice. Podcasts
Are you running a startup? Do you want to develop your business, are you looking for knowledge, inspiration and expert advice that will help you prepare for the upcoming challenges? Startup Starter will answer these questions. Podcasts will be published every Thursday from April 15 this year.