You can build a beautiful product in the world with 100’s of features. Until unless you sell them nothing happens. You have to monetize soon to survive and attract more customers.
Focus for any startup is to begin with SALES in mind and nothing else. As the business starts growing, we face many challenges like hiring sales persons, Defining the Sales process, commission structure, inside sales and its scripts and many more.
I am sure you might have read these from many others too.
So to simplify, let me explain on what we did at AcTouch Technologies.
In the beginning, we followed like any 90% of startups sales model and had to learn at our own expenses. Let me explain the stages that we followed and may be you too can co-relate to them.
Phase 1: Product release and ensured the product market fit is OK. This helped us to position the product to right segment of customers. But we still are developing and fine tuning the product for meeting more business verticals and customer demand.
Recently we started saying “NO” to customers, as we want to focus on our verticals.
Phase 2: Started selling by identifying many channels to sell. We hired few sales people and started selling. Customer started to accept the product and gaining few more references. So we thought we found the formula to sell.
Phase 2a: Had to let go off few sales people as we felt they were not fitting our strategy or we didn’t know how to sell. We had hired the sales people who didn’t have the ERP knowledge and were struggling to position the product to customer. We had assumed that we could train them and enable. So the management time was wasted to manage each and every sales person and also get into closure.
Slowly our sales process and model started evolving. A lot of trial and errors, but it started evolving into a better one.
Phase 3: Started inside sales, digital marketing activities. Changed the sales model and approach. Defined 3 revenue streams and we started sticking to our process now. Slowly results started coming in.
Stopped running around for each and every prospects or business for demo and closure. We defined a checklist to validate whether “This prospect really needs our solution or not”. This saved us huge amount of time and ensured that we have the right set of customers, who wants our solutions.
The regular money spending on lead generation and results, “Best of few” and Closures were monitored closely.
Now we found something interesting one. “We were missing the milestones and targets”.
We were facing challenges with our Sales and to achieve our targets. When we looked into our Sales Capability, we found some interesting perspective. We had the closure capability, but not the Lead generation capability, validation of the leads and taking it to closure.
So we did the following now
- Our Sales process. We wanted our sales person to follow it and not to miss any line, as these are time tested and worked out for us.
- Every sales stage is monitored to see the outcome and why?
- Inside sales teams scripts are modified to meet our new business focus and customer segments.
- No more trying to meet everyone.
- Avoided prospects with lesser budgets. Because, we have to give the right focus to every customer and can’t miss it. If customer pays for it, then its OK else we don’t want them as customers.
- New cut-off criteria – Financial, Business fitment, Modules and what is the percentage of customization required etc
- Validation process
- Online product demo.
- Quick Closure and collections.
We are seeing some results now, but not that consistent as the external factors influence the customer decisions too.
But we are improving now.