Sales professionals in any sector don’t have it easy. But when you’re up against established legacy competitors or trying to gain traction in a new market or vertical, you’ve usually got a tough journey ahead.
Let’s face it, working in sales for a startup is not easy.
Even startups with some decent funding behind them - serious seed or A rounds - need to work hard to hit ambitious targets. One of the challenges is - and I know, there are usually multiple challenges in every operational area - keeping the pipeline active and closing as many deals as possible once they enter the pipeline.
Quicker responses: more sales
Research shows that calling, or jumping on an Instant Demo, with a potential lead within 5 minutes makes them 21x more likely to consider buying. Great! Now all you need is a salesperson, or team, constantly ready to call or demo a prospect within 5 minutes. Your pipeline problem is solved! If only startups could dedicate resources that way.
Unfortunately, most seed and A-round funded-startups need team members to juggle a wide variety of tasks. No one can afford to sit and wait for inbound leads all day.
Let’s think about this as a customer a buyer. As consumers, we rarely wait for brands to sell us something. We shop around, do our homework, read reviews, read blogs, ask others on social media and often make a purchasing decision before engaging potential sellers.
Say you’ve got a range of options for this product or service you want to buy. One seller responds straight away. You can get it shipped or pick it up that day. Job done. The other doesn’t respond straight away and has a five working day turnaround time. Who do you buy from? Unless prices are widely different, you go with the more responsive company.
Startup sales teams need to start thinking with a buyer’s mindset. Once you take too long to respond, you lose a sale. Buyers won’t wait. Failing to integrate sales with marketing is another all-too-common startup mistake. If marketing is generating leads, but not getting them while they’re hot over to sales, then that is a lot of wasted and expensive effort.
Instead of waiting for leads to trickle through from sales, or hoping your sales team have the time to deal with inbound prospects quickly, get focused on implementing a proactive pipeline approach. Here is how to setup an inbound pipeline in one week using our Instant Demo tool.
One week: from a broken pipeline to Instant Demos
Firstly, you need to know who is responsible for instant demos.
Don’t try and do this without one team member taking ownership and the founder(s) supporting this move as their number one priority. A founder doesn’t make an ideal owner for this project, although founders can help by taking the occasional demo request here and there: No matter how much they know, how much they can talk about a product, they simply don’t have the time.
Even if the person responsible only gets five to ten live inbound leads every week, they should be encouraged to drop whatever else they’re doing to deliver an Instant Demo of the product to a potential customer. Make sure they know the product inside out and can speak comfortably about the benefits, onboarding process and pricing. Marketing or inside sales staff are usually ideal and already equipped to step up to the plate, so if you only want to trial this model, then you won’t lose much time trialing it with one team member.
How to set up an Instant Demo pipeline
The easiest way to do this, in one week, is look at every touch point potential customers have with your business. When it comes to most startups, you probably have more touch points than you realize, including the following:
Websites - Home, Product and Pricing pages. Similar to Live Chat, you need to give leads the option to jump straight into a demo if that is what they want.
e-mail signatures. Every single e-mail address, including those automated responses to signing-up to newsletters and for downloading eBooks, should have an option to launch an Instant Demo.
Landing pages. Designed to capture prospects’ attention. What if they’re in a hurry? Sure, they want the eBook, but if they’ve got the time, give them the option to get an Instant Demo right away.
Newsletters and e-mail blasts. Whether you are sending out cold e-mails, or a monthly newsletter to subscribers, chances are you’re going to engage with potential buyers. Speed is everything. Giving them the option to jump on an Instant Demo when they want removes the obstacles to booking a convenient time and hoping both parties remember there is a call scheduled. Nothing is more frustrating to startup salespeople than expecting a call only for the buyer to no-show on them.
Within calls-to-action (CTA). Again, another key touchpoint most startups use. Look at every CTA you have: Across social media, content marketing and adverts. Every interaction is a potential sale, and when you’ve been publishing content for a while (more than a year), those evergreen articles keep generating new hits every week. Ensure you’ve positioned an Instant Demo CTA everywhere it will make an impact.
Startup sales processes aren’t easy.
But reviewing every touch point, embedding an Instant Demo CTA everywhere potential customers interact with your brand, then appointing and training a member of staff will have your team ready, after just a few days of preparation, to give Instant Demos within seconds of your prospects’ requests. Our recommendation is to give one staff member ownership of Instant Demos and ensuring requests get handled. Another several should be readily available to jump on demo requests - and this does include the founders!