Sales · · 9 min read

An Infallible Guide to Startup Sales Strategy

Startups need sales strategies like cold sales, market differentiators, inbound marketing, and MEDDIC to penetrate, succeed, and thrive in saturated markets.

startup sales strategy

Finding success as a startup is relatively simple—in theory. It's all about brainstorming solutions for common pain points in “X” industry. If it's that simple, why do 90% of startups fail?

A better way to look at this isn’t finding out why most startups fail. Instead, we must understand how and why the remaining 10% of startups succeed even in competitive landscapes.

That’s what we’re here to help with! In this article, we’ll be going over:

  • Effective sales strategies for startup success
  • Sales versus marketing
  • Lead generation for startups
  • Figuring out growth strategies for your business

Effective Sales Strategies for Startup Success

You can find startups in every industry. There’s a sales strategy for each one. But the goal remains the same—generating predictable, consistent, and sustainable revenue. To achieve these goals, we can use the following strategies.

strategy for startups

Cold Sales Email Campaigns

Most startups won’t have the budget for large-scale marketing campaigns. Cold sales emails, on the other hand, are inexpensive, measurable, and scalable.

Startups can get the much-needed traction to help snowball their success using cold emails. You can do these campaigns manually and track progress using free tools like Google Sheets.

However, this model won’t be sustainable as you grow. You’d need an email marketing tool to automate repetitive tasks and provide insights through a robust analytics dashboard. This should become a standard in every sales strategy.

So, how do you start a cold email campaign? Here’s a quick step-by-step guide that goes over the basics:

  1. Create an email account to send emails. Use different accounts (for example, [email protected] and [email protected]) to test which works best.
  2. Identify your ideal customer and find others that fit the mold.
  3. Craft and personalize cold email templates to help you scale your campaigns.
  4. Find leads to add to your sales funnel.
  5. Qualify the leads further, collect contact info, and do sales prospecting.
  6. Send your cold sales emails and set a follow-up schedule.
  7. Track progress to make data-driven decisions moving forward.

Check out our definitive guide to cold emails for a more in-depth look at how you can find success using this strategy.

Sales Video Letter

One of the main hurdles startups can face is building authority. We can build authority by showing expertise on relevant topics within our industries.

Think blogs, articles, how-tos, case studies, or guides on how to solve common pain points. The issue is that the content, although informational, is in text format.

Not all of your prospects would have the time to go through walls of text. A great alternative is to use a sales video letter.

You’d be placing a face to your brand. Studies show that consumers trust a salesperson more if they can see their facial expressions or hear their voice.

In a sales video letter, you can quickly address skepticism, reframe your prospect’s perspective, and provide immediate value.

Inbound Sales Strategies

Inbound sales aim to attract customers to your business with valuable, relevant, and high-quality content. It involves marketing strategies like SEO, social media, or landing page optimization.

Some startups prioritize inbound strategies as they can bring in leads passively. Inbound strategies allow startups to focus on closing sales, improving product quality, and launching the business.

Once you’ve gathered enough leads to add to your sales funnel, the next step is converting them into paying customers. We do this through nurturing campaigns that supplement our initial content marketing efforts.

As a quick refresher, the fundamentals of most inbound sales strategies include the following:

  • Planning out the content your prospects would find most valuable.
  • Creating the content.
  • Distributing the content through the proper channels (social media, blogs, email marketing).
  • Capturing the attention of leads through the content.
  • Cultivating relationships with your leads through nurture campaigns.
  • Analyzing data using analytics to help make informed decisions.
  • Converting leads to paying customers.

Market Differentiator Strategies

Penetrating saturated markets isn’t easy, especially for startups. You must find ways to differentiate your product and brand from the competition. Differentiators include (but aren’t limited to) pricing, product/services, customer service, and acquisition strategies.

How your products or services are priced requires a lot of thought. Do you match the pricing of your competitors? Should you lower the prices to make it more appealing? Or do you increase the cost to portray a sense of exclusivity?

Another way you could penetrate the market is by selling a unique product or service. What benefits do your products have over the competition? Is your product more convenient to use? Does your business offer superior customer service?

Find an area where your startup can outperform the competitors. Try and focus on aspects that directly impact customer satisfaction. Find your footing, and you’ll be on your way to getting a good chunk of market share, even in saturated markets.

MEDDICC Sales Methodology

MEDDICC is a sales methodology that can help startups identify sales-ready prospects. The acronym stands for:

  • Metrics
  • Economic Buyer
  • Decisions Criteria
  • Decision Process
  • Implicate Pain
  • Champion
  • Competition

Each of these terms allows sales and marketing to understand a customer’s purchasing journey better by asking the following questions:

  • How do you measure the value you provide to prospects? (Metrics)
  • Who is the leading decision-maker within a prospect’s organization? (Economic Buyer)
  • What are the criteria used for purchasing? (Decision Criteria)
  • What are the steps involved in finalizing that decision? (Decision Process)
  • What are the internal pain points of your prospect’s organization? (Implicate Pain)
  • Who benefits from the solutions you provide? (Champion)
  • Who is competing for the same internal resources as you? (Competition)

Remember, all the best sales strategies are measurable, repeatable, and sustainable. You get all of this when using the MEDDIC sales methodology. It allows your marketing, sales, and decision-making team to have a unified language regarding your sales process.

Sales Versus Marketing

marketing vs. sales

Sales and marketing are like two sides of the same coin. Startups need both on the same page to see consistent growth. Marketing helps your business find the right leads; sales help you convert those leads into revenue. Here’s an in-depth look at both:

What is the Role of Your Marketing Team

Getting your startup from an idea to a profitable business model requires a stellar marketing team. According to CB Insights, 14% of startups fail due to hiring the wrong marketing team.

For startups with 11-100 employees, Jigsaw Metrics recommends having a marketing director, marketing supervisor, content manager, social media manager, and paid ad specialists.

As you scale your business, you can send recruiting emails to stand-out marketers to help you sustain your growth. But do you need to hire dedicated marketers even as a startup?

Ideally, the answer should always be yes. Solopreneurs or startups with 2-3 people running a business can get spread thin fast.

So, as you gain momentum, look at the analytics and your CRM to find the avenues that get the most revenue and focus there. For example, if you’re getting more inbound sales through organic traffic—you can hire content managers to help you with SEO.

But, if you want to be more aggressive with launching your brand, you can try running paid ads or crafting irresistible offers through cold email campaigns. With the right marketing team, finding leads to convert into a sale become much more accessible.

What is the Role of Your Sales Team

A dedicated sales team helps you develop dynamic sales strategies so your startup can start seeing consistent revenue streams. They also work with your marketing team to ensure they have the correct data to personalize outreach campaigns.

A sales team typically comprises an SDR (Sales Development Representative) and an AE (Account Executive). SDRs do top-of-funnel tasks such as qualifying prospects, outreach, and nurturing.

AEs handle bottom-funnel tasks such as closing sales-ready prospects, addressing needs, maintaining consistent communication, and negotiating. But before conversions happen, you still need to fill up your lead database through lead generation strategies.

Lead Generation Strategies for Startups

Lead acquisition is the lifeblood of every sales process. More leads equal more chances of conversions. That’s why a lot of startups invest heavily in the following lead-generation strategies.

lead generation for startups

Community Engagement

Cultivating a community around your product/service can create a positive feedback loop. First, you need to establish yourself as a trustworthy authority. Write guides, create how-tos, and publish valuable content for your audience.

Next, build a community that aims to help, mentor, or guide new adapters of your products. When you have a great product plus the support of a community, you get social proof and tons of user-generated content.

Users can share success stories, create personal guides, or build content around your product. That’s free marketing! This positive feedback loop creates a buzz and helps supplement your inbound sales.

For example, Instantly has a private Cold Email Masterclass community on Facebook. You can find users just starting their businesses to well-established enterprises looking to scale. There’s always something for everybody, which is the main appeal of building a community.

Update Your Website/Landing Page Optimization

A well-optimized landing page can act as a 24/7 lead generation machine. All marketing efforts, inbound or outbound, should redirect back to optimized landing pages or your website.

Remember, your landing pages should serve a specific purpose. It could gather contact data (emails, phone numbers, etc.), serve as a download page for content like case studies, or a sign-up page for free trials

How you optimize these pages are up to you. But, as a rule of thumb, avoid falling into the trap of overcomplicating your call-to-actions (CTAs).

Partner with the Right Influencers

Influencer marketing is an excellent alternative if paid ads or PPC campaigns aren’t getting you results. The right influencers help you get better brand awareness, conversions, and authority in your industry.

Studies show that 28% of consumers discover new products through influencers, and 13% look to influencers to make informed purchasing decisions.

So, how do you reach out to the right influencers? You could reach out through social media platforms via comments or private messages. But, to keep things professional, you can write an influencer outreach email.

Before reaching out, make sure to do the following:

  • Create an outline for your goals and requirements for the influencers.
  • Find influencers that align with your goals and could meet your needs.
  • Identify the most relevant influencers for your products/services.

Incentivise Referrals

One of the best lead-generation strategies for startups is word-of-mouth. And incentivizing referrals is excellent for starting a conversation around your product.

It’s a win-win strategy for you, your customers, and the people they refer. For example, you can create customized referral codes for prospects. When new users enter their referral codes, they get discounts, and your existing customers get a discount too.

Create Several Opt-in Opportunities

A lead’s contact information is an essential resource that’s hard to come by. You could always find an email address manually. That won’t be the best option further down the line.

As a startup, you need to create vehicles that allow you to gather contact info like email addresses or phone numbers consensually.

You can do this through opt-ins on your channels like social media or your website. For example, somebody reading your blog may want more information about a case study. To download the case study, they must enter their email address.

How to Handle Objections

Once you’ve built a robust email list, the next step is to send personalized sales emails. But in most cases, these emails would often be met with objections. Here are some tips that can help startups turn objections into sales:

  • Stay relevant: Keep the conversation personalized to your prospect’s needs.
  • Practice active listening: Get a genuine understanding of why a prospect objected to your sales pitch. This can help you provide better, tailored solutions.
  • Agreeing with the objections: Agreeing with an objection doesn’t mean conceding. You can always agree with the objection and justify why you are positioned as such.
  • Plan a follow-up: Always follow up on your leads. After two or three follow-ups, removing them from your email list will be better.

Key Takeaways

Developing a dynamic sales strategy help startups find their footing in competitive markets. Here’s a quick rundown of the best strategies startups can try out:

  • Cold sales email campaigns.
  • Sales video letters.
  • Inbound sales strategies.
  • Identifying market differentiators.
  • MEDDICC sales methodology.

Every startup needs the right tools to supplement its sales strategy. And when it comes to sales, email marketing is an invaluable asset. Start your email marketing journey right with the help of Instantly! Sign-up for free today!

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