“Sales is a process. It needs to be planned.” Krista Jones, Practice Lead, ICE, MaRS
Selling is the final test in the success of your product and brings together everything else your company has done: development, design, marketing, and so on. As an entrepreneur, it is just as important to hire the right sales people to sell the product as it is for you to be engaged with potential customers. Companies often focus too much on the technology of the product and not enough on the customer whose problem they are solving.
At last week’s Sales lecture, Krista Jones and Nathan Monk of the IT, Communications and Entertainment (ICE) practice at MaRS, spoke on the principles of “selling value” to the customer in both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sales.
As you prepare to launch your product, think about theses three fundamental points:
- Sales is a process and needs to planned actively
- Sales requires special skills, so find a book and learn those skills
- Sales needs specific channels—figure out which of the five channels suits your product
During her presentation on B2B sales, Krista mentioned several important things to keep in mind when preparing for a successful sales call:
- Avoid making a common mistake of first-time entrepreneurs and take the time to establish relationships with potential customers. People buy from people.
- Price to market; cost to profit – experiment to see what the market dictates. Once you know your price point, you can begin adding profit.
- Keep in mind that value proposition is everything and every pitch is different. Do your homework and practice, practice, practice.
- Listen as much as you talk during a sales meeting so that you hear your customer’s signals.
During the second half of the lecture, Nathan took the stage and shifted the focus to B2C sales. While the fundamentals are similar in both, key differences do exist, especially in the execution of the marketing campaign.
Watch the lecture video for more information on how these two types of selling differ and where to focus your efforts on each.
For more tips on a winning sales strategy, watch the Quick Hits video:
Note: For MaRS clients only, for information on mapping out your sales process as well as tools for managing and influencing sales opportunities, see the B2B Sales Process workshop series.
Next lecture: Distribution with Ryan Poissant, Advisor, ICE, MaRS.
- Lecture slides: Sales and Business Development
- Article: The Characteristics of a B2B Technology Sale
- Workbook: Building an Early-Stage B2B Sales Forecast
- Video: Sales: Five Hot Tips for Startups
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For a more in-depth look at sales strategy, register for ‘B2B Sales Strategy: Insider Tips’ here.