Sales-Traction Channel #13

Definition of Sales as a Traction Channel-the process of generating leads, qualifying them, and converting them into paying customers. This channel is particularly useful for products that require interpersonal interaction before a purchase (often enterprise and expensive ones). That’s because hand-holding prospects can be necessary to turn prospects into real customers. One effective way to do that is via sales,” Weinberg and Mares explain in their book, Traction. Scaling the Sales Traction Channel requires: I.  Design and implement a repeatable sales model  One Sales Methodology (PUCCKA) is by Mark Suster

  1. Pain  Steve Blank calls this “customer development” in which you built an initial product that is in search of “product/ market fit.” In non-tech speak, this is where your product solves the need of a customer segment well enough that many customers in that segment are willing to pay you money for your product.
  2. Unique Selling Proposition USP is the things that your product is uniquely positioned to solve. If a customer has pain they and you get them to articulate this the next step is to show you can solve that problem.
  3. Compelling Event- answers the final question in sales, “Why buy now?” which is the hardest question to answer
  4. Champion is the person who drives through the approval to give the go ahead (and secures budget) to your product or company. Orders don’t fill out themselves – you need somebody who will take a risk on you and guide you through he process. A champion is somebody with both “influence” and “authority.
  5. Key Players other people involved in the sales process including enemies, technical experts, sponsors, etc.
  6. Aligned Purchasing Process the act of your customer being ready to buy when you’re ready to sell.
II. Deciding how to get those first few customers by building a sales funnel –Start with many prospects, qualify the ones that make good customers and sell a certain number of them on your solution.  The first goal is to drive leads into the top of the funnel.  Secondly, qualification comes to determine how ready a prospect is to buy and if it is time to invest additional resources.  Finally, closing leads to create a purchase timeline and convert prospects to paying customers. One common sales process or sales funnel is divided into seven phases including:
  1. Awareness Phase – in which prospects become aware of the existence of a solution.
  2. Interest Phase – in which prospects demonstrate interest in a product by conducting product research.
  3. Evaluation Phase – in which prospects or prospect companies examine competitors’ solutions as they inch toward a final buying decision.
  4. Decision Phase – In which a final decision is reached and negotiation begins.
  5. Purchase Phase – in which goods or services are purchased.
  6. Reevaluation Phase – in B2B sales it’s common for offerings to involve contracts that need to be renewed. As a customer becomes familiar with an offering, and especially as a contract draws to a close, a customer will enter a reevaluation phase during which they’ll decide whether or not to renew their contract.
  7. Repurchase Phase – in which a customer repurchases a product or service.
III. Tactics you can use in common sales situations like cold calling.
  • Closing First Customers-For consumer products, your first customers will likely come through channels other than sales – SEO, SEM, targeting blogs and the like. When targeting bigger businesses, however, closing those first few critical customers can be significantly more challenging.
  • Early Conversations-
    • Usually it is someone you know and people in the same field.
    • Have an excellent Unique Selling Proposition or lunch pitch. This is a single piece of paper that has five to ten bullets and a perhaps a visual that helps them focus the conversation making sure they understand the prospect’s problem. The early conversations are all about exploring the prospect’s problem and pain points.”
  • Structuring Sales Conversations  When it comes to structuring your sales conversations, Weinberg and Mares suggest using the approach developed by Neil Rackham as outlined in his book, SPIN Selling. It is a four-part question framework to use when talking to prospects, based on a decade spent researching 35,000 sales calls  (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-payoff):
    1. Situation questions. These questions help you learn about a prospect’s buying situation. Typical questions may include: ‘How many employees do you have?’ and ‘How is your organization structured?’ Only ask one or two of these questions per conversation since the more situation questions a salesperson asks the less likely they are to close a sale. That’s because people feel like they’re giving  you information without getting anything in return.
    2. Problem questions. These are questions that clarify the buyer’s pain points. You want to quickly define the problem they’re facing so you can focus on the implications of this problem and how your solution helps. Todd Vollmer, an enterprise sales professional with over 20 years of sales recommends getting answers for five specific areas he calls: PNAME: Problem, Need, Authority, Money and Estimated Timing
    3. Implication questions. These questions are meant to make a prospect aware of the implications that stem from the problem they’re facing. These questions are based on information you uncovered while asking your problem questions. Questions could include – Does this problem hurt your productivity? How many people does this issue impact, and in what ways?  These questions should make your prospect feel a problem is larger and more urgent than he or she may have initially thought.
    4. Need-payoff questions. These questions focus attention on your solution and get buyers to think about the benefits of addressing the problem. Such questions should stem from the implication questions you asked earlier, and can include: How do you feel this solution would help you? What type of impact would this have on you if we were to implement this within the next few months? Whose life would improve if this problem was solved, and how?
Conclusion  Depending on the type of startup, the idea of sales can be more than an overwhelming topic. The key is knowing that any startup will needs sales to continue. So taking the time to develop your sales strategy is essential and strategic. Resources ]]>