Creating a POC, launching an MVP, completing a first funding round are all key milestones in the development of a startup. But there is another crucial step that is often taken for granted: landing your first clients and earning their loyalty.
To get there, it’s important to mobilise the right tools and build a solid strategy for client acquisition and retention. A well-structured marketing and sales programme can ensure sustainable growth for a business, but how can entrepreneurs achieve that?
On 27th February, Dominique Seguin, Managing Director at KESTIO, led a very insightful workshop for Early Metrics’ rated startups where he provided actionable insights on the optimisation of sales performance. Here we look back at the key tips and takeaways from the event.
The 7 principles of commercial performance
Firstly, there are some factors impacting turnover that are hard to control. These can be external (market maturity, competitive landscape, geopolitics) or internal (such as pricing and speed of product delivery). However, you can mitigate these difficulties by setting up a clear action plan.
Three criteria drive a sales action plan: the targets, the number of actions needed (commercial pressure) and the quality of these actions (conversion rate). You can also structure the action plan by asking yourself the following questions:
- How many clients are there per sector and per type of customer?
- What is the time and budget needed for each type of action and what is the expected impact?
- What marketing and sales resources available for each channel?
Obviously, the goal is always to get the maximum results with the least sacrifice of time and resources.
According to Seguin, there are then seven major actions and principles that can optimise sales performance:
- 1. Define a clear commercial strategy.
- 2. Develop individual and collective skills within the team.
- 3. Generate leads.
- 4. Convert leads.
- 5. Monitor sales initiatives.
- 6. Structure information and provide support.
- 7. Develop your leadership.
Tips for Sales Managers
According to Seguin, the role of the manager is three-fold:
- ○ To teach sales techniques
- ○ To provide the details of the offer
- ○ To make sure their team members come to work motivated and happy.
He advises sales managers to organise a 2 hour-long client meeting simulation with their team every Monday. This can help harmonise the sales approaches within the team. Also, don’t forget field support as it is key to the sales team’s performance.
Moreover, as a manager you should structure the feedback given to team members. These are some of the questions that could help structure your feedback:
- ○ What is the objective of the client meeting?
- ○ Has the objective been met and why?
- ○ What have you done well? What would you have done differently?
- ○ End by asking: may I offer some feedback? Start with the positives and then go on to the things to improve.
Tip to encourage emulation within the team: put the pipeline on the wall of the office or in the canteen so that all team members are aware of the commercial situation.
Finally, if you want to delve deeper in to this topic, Seguin recommends reading The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson.