Common Sales Problems/Mistakes for Startups

In your opinion, what are some mistakes made or problems faced by sales teams at startups?

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Often times salespeople at startups focus too much on selling their features, product or service, that they lose sight of the important base-building that should take place before pitching.

It is important to build a relationship with a client, and identify their specific needs and goals first. Knowing what your prospect is trying to accomplish gives you a better understanding of how your product or service fits into their business. This will allow you to position your product perfectly, so its fits in their business like a puzzle piece.

Being a startup, you have the advantage of differentiating yourself form larger company salespeople. Use this difference to your advantage, and make the fact that your a start-up salesperson a plus, rather than a negative.

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In my opinion, one common mistake in startups’ sales teams is that they don’t invest enough time in developing a team culture. This is completly understandable because they don’t have enough resources and they are always very busy. But I think that a solid team culture empowers and motivates employees, improving the team’s outcome. Taking into consideration the impact that a great culture can have on the results is the first step to creating a better team strategy. The second step would be to allow the necessary time to build a successful team culture.

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I think the biggest problem when developing an effective sales team at a startup is being too open to who joins. Too often are decision makers in startups effected by time constraints. The nature of startups require your company to adapt to changes quickly, so it’s essential that your sales team reflects this need. Hiring people that can adapt to different environments is essential in startup sales teams.

At my first Saas job, our team’s leader did a fantastic job of bringing aboard this very type of person, which in my opinion was a big reason why we were so successful. Additionally, when somebody who wasn’t good at pivoting and changing direction in terms of sales strategy was brought on board, they struggled immensely.

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In addition to what Elizabeth said, since sales positions in most industries don’t require a college degree or specific training other than understanding how to communicate value, startups shouldn’t limit themselves to looking for salespeople with sales or business experience. The ultimate sales employee is a fast learner with enough determination to never give up. The sales hiring process, in any type of company (startup or established corporation), should be less about qualifications and more about who the person is and the intangibles they have that could make them good at selling your product.

Samantha, a very good point.
Not everybody is suitable for sales, attitude, enthusiasm, energy, and a Postive Mental Attitude is required.
I teach people for over 23 years worldwide a scripted presentation from front to back till they reach the conscious competence level with remarkable results.
To many people make it too complicated K.I.S.S. is the magic word.