The Startup Sales Cycle
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The Startup Sales Cycle

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Enterprise sales are difficult, and the sales cycles are long. For startups, selling to large companies can take even more time because of a number of factors that make it even more challenging to ...

Enterprise sales are difficult, and the sales cycles are long. For startups, selling to large companies can take even more time because of a number of factors that make it even more challenging to make a sale. This presentation describes the typical sales cycle for a large company, the additional hurdles that startups face, and tips for startups to overcome those hurdles.

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The Startup Sales Cycle The Startup Sales Cycle Presentation Transcript

  • the startup sales cycle
  • selling is never easy, even when you’re a big company
    and when you’re a startup, it’s even harder
  • that means that making your first sale will take a long time – longer than you think
  • before we begin, we must ask a question
    what is a sales cycle?
  • a sales cycle is the total amount of time it takes from when you first open dialogue with a potential customer to when you finally close the sale
  • the
    big
    company
    sales cycle
  • big companies have serious advantages & tools when they sell to new or existing customers
  • the customer may already be familiar with the company’s products & service (this includes quality and performance)
  • the customer may have existing software from the big company that can do even more when combined with the new software
  • the big company may offer APIs and support that makes integration into existing systems easy
  • the big company may have relationships with more of the customer’s decision makers who can have an impact on the sale
  • does this mean the big company’s sales cycle will be fast and short?
    no 
  • here‘s how long it takes for a big company to make their sale:
    1) it starts when the first contact is made
  • 2) then, an initial set of calls & meetings take place for deal qualification, needs analysis and proposal creation
    this takes two to four weeks
  • 3) the proposal is submitted for review by the customer*
    * this is when the customer starts to think:
    • what budgets pay for this?
    • what is required beyond money?
    • can we build this ourselves?
    • what other vendors should we call?
    this takes one to four weeks
  • 4) if the proposal is accepted, implementation begins*
    *this requires the customer’s time too for IT assistance & user training
    this takes two to four weeks
  • 5) the pilot begins
    this takes one to six months
  • 6) the pilot ends, and the evaluation of the pilot’s performance begins
    this takes two to four weeks
  • 7) if the pilot was determined to be a success, the purchase must then be approved by all decision makers
    this takes two to four weeks
  • 8) after a three to twelve month long cycle, the big company has made a sale
  • what about the
    startup
    sales cycle?
  • it includes everything we saw for the big company… but it takes even longer 
  • startups are unknown, so the customer worries about this more than price or features*
    * that means you need to address this with customer testimonials & case studies before the sale – these take time to acquire & develop
  • startups make IT angry, because the software is often poorly documented, buggy and hard to integrate into existing systems*
    i am IT cat
    * that means you need to figure out how to make IT’s life easier – this may delay or alter your release cycle
  • startups don’t understand the internal politics at the customer to know whose support they need to make the sale*
    * let’s explore this more by looking at the three sets of decision makers at each customer
  • customer decision maker #1: the person who will ultimately use the product or service
    “I want to know why this will let me do a better job – without having to do any extra work!”
  • customer decision maker #1: the person who will ultimately use the product or service
    Get her on your side by showing her how:
    • It solves one of her biggest problems
    • It will make her look better to her boss
    • It will not add more work to her job
    • You have gotten buy-in from her co-workers
    • You are committed to awesome customer service
  • customer decision maker #2: the person who will ultimately pay for the product or service
    “I want to know why this is essential for the company – and if it will help us make more money.”
  • customer decision maker #2: the person who will ultimately pay for the product or service
    Get him on your side by showing him how:
    • You have delivered ROI for past customers
    • You are a better value than similar products
    • You won’t cost more than you say you will
    • You are essential for the users’ work (and they have vouched for that fact)
  • “What? More new software to support?”
    “I’ve already entered 3 new vendors into our database today!”
    “This is totally going to get in the way of this game of Solitaire!”
    “ButI want to be home for dinner by 6!”
    customer decision maker(s) #3: the lazy people who won’t use or pay for the product, but whose lives may be (even mildly) affected
  • Get them on your side by showing them:
    • You’ll do as much of the work as possible so they don’t have to
    • You’ll do as much of the work as possible so they don’t have to
    • You’ll do as much of the work as possible so they don’t have to
    customer decision maker(s) #3: the lazy people who won’t use or pay for the product, but whose lives may be (even mildly) affected
  • once you have addressed your product’s reliability, its IT impact, and how it affects the lives of the three decision makers…only then does your sales cycle become shorter like the big company.
  • what is the single most important thing you can do to shorten the cycle?
    be aware of all decision makers, uncover their objections, and address their objections as early as possible!
  • one last thought: a sale is ultimately the result of great relationships
    the quickest sales occur when the customer is already in your network, or you’ve been introduced to them by someone they already know and trust
  • thanks for joining us for this presentation…
    …now join us for the easiest way to give and get great introductions for shorter sales cycles: SalesTie
    salestie.com @salestie info@salestie.com