7 Myths of Startup Sales & Marketing

Recently, I got invited to speak at the Vancouver stop of Startup Canada’s cross-country tour.

As part of the Sales & Marketing workshop they asked me to deliver a 15 min talk about some high-level concepts that would benefit first-time or early entrepreneurs. I came up with 7 myths1 (and their matching realities) that I see startups believe, over and over:

  1. I can just "wing" it
  2. I should try to reach everybody
  3. I know what they want
  4. They will find me
  5. They will buy it because it’s great
  6. They will buy it the first time they learn about it
  7. I should be price competitive

Myth: I can just "wing" it

Reality: You have to me systematic in your approach and test everything. Pick something you’d like to improve, come up with a plan, test it, then adapt. And repeat

Myth: I should try to reach everybody

Reality: You need to focus on the people that have the problem you are solving (or appreciate the value you offer). This means you will have to turn down people if they don’t match your ideal target.

Myth: I know what they want

Reality: You need to be talking to your prospects & customer ALL. THE. TIME. From your prospects find out their big problems and help them solve it. From your customers find out why they bought, how they bought, what else they want.

Myth: They will find me

Reality: You need to be where your customers are, contributing to the discussions. Whether that Twitter, LinkedIn, conferences, webinars, etc, wherever your customer interact with each other, be there. And remember, don’t always be pitching either. Start and comment on discussions, help people out, etc.

Myth: They will buy it because it’s great

Reality: Recognize that inertia for the status quo (or staying with the incumbent) is the biggest hurdle you have to overcome. Most thins must be sold in some way or another, either via your website or your interactions, and to do that, you need to have a relationship that includes trust.

Myth: They will buy it the first time they learn about it

Reality: It takes 7-11 touch points before people are ready to buy and 40-60% of those usually occur before they reach out to you (i.e. you won’t know about them). This means three things:

  1. make sure they see you interact (website, social, etc)
  2. make sure your contributions are meaningful
  3. Don’t give up after the 1 or 2 second time you reach out them. Most non-routine sales happen after the 5th point of contact.

Myth: I should be price competitive

Reality: Two main mistakes I see with pricing:

  1. Basing price on competition
  2. Basing price on how hard that feature was to make

Instead, you should understand how much VALUE your customer will get from your software and base accordingly. Additionally, review and adapt your pricing every 6-8 months (Always Be Testing from above).

Life Lesson: Never Give w/o Getting

Whenever you are trying to move an opportunity along, remember that when the prospect/customer asks you for something, you should be GETTING something in return. If they want the price, ask for a meeting with the decision maker. If they want a discount, ask for a video testimonial, etc. There’s always something beneficial you can get.

  1. And one bonus life lesson 

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Pull Not Push ⇒

"Instead of being about persuading the buyer, sales is more about building their motivation to buy." @PrincipledSell brandquarterly.com/open-mic-socia…

We’ve got to start pulling customers through the buying process instead of pushing them through our sales process.

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The power of right the fuck now ⇒

When you ask for something, always be prepared for a yes!

If you’re doing things the right way, you’ll get yesses. Be ready for them!

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13 killer B2B sales questions to close more deals ⇒

If you don’t ask these questions, you’re throwing away money

Ask these 13 B2B sales questions to close more deals and make more sales.

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