Cash is the lifeblood of your business. It’s how you keep the lights on, your employees coming in every day, and your mortgage paid. How does your business get cash? You sell your stuff — those products or services that constitute your business. No sales means no cash. No cash means no business.
If sales is so important, why is it that so many entrepreneurs shy away from the sales side of their business? If you don’t have a background in sales, it’s all too easy for sales to seem intimidating. Sales means facing rejection, and calling people who don’t want to talk to you. It involves asking people for money. It’s seems easier just to hire someone else to take care of it. Continue reading →
An overwhelming amount of attention in sales training goes towards teaching tips and tricks. Some of these tips are tricks can be good things to know, but ultimately they don’t add much to the value of the company. To see real results, you need more than tricks. You need to create a strong foundation for your company’s sales structure. Continue reading →
Let’s say you’re really far along in creating your business model. You understand exactly what your customers’ needs are, and you’ve crafted an outstanding value proposition for them. After a long decision-making process, you’ve decided that the best course of action for your business is to dive in with both feet and sell to your customers directly.
You’ve also decided that you’re not going to sell through your website, or rely on something passive like a kickstarter campaign. You’re actually going to hire people.
Hiring a sales staff is a big step. It’s time to ask yourself a big question: “How much will I have to pay in order to set someone else to sell for me?” Continue reading →
What exactly does it mean to professionalize your sales process? It means making your sales activities a core function of your business. If you do it correctly, your business will be much more profitable, and you will make a lot more money.
In the earlier posts, I’ve explained the foundation of a professionalized sales structure: customers, value propositions and channels. Now it’s time to construct the larger framework that foundation supports. That means talking about costs and profits. In other words, we’re talking about the economics of your business. Continue reading →
I’m a process guy. I like to break down complex systems into their most basic structures, looking for places where things can be improved or made more efficient. In my work with entrepreneurs and small businesses, I often see the biggest process bottlenecks in the early stages of sales process. And there’s no place this is more obvious than in how a business approaches their channels.
A channel is simply another way of saying “Places to sell your stuff.” You can also look at channels as a series of branching paths, almost like branches on a tree, with each one reaching out to a specific kind of customer. Just like a tree, you can often get the best results by knowing which branches to prune.
Right off the bat, most businesses need to make a big decision in which branch to prune. Will they focus on direct or indirect sales? Direct sales means selling directly to the customer or end user, while indirect sales means that your customers aren’t the final customer, and instead they sell to the final customer as middlemen. Continue reading →
Creating a professional sales competency in your business is the single biggest success hack there is. I’ve seen firsthand the impact that a professionalized sales process can make. Not only can it make you a lot of money, it can also completely change how your company is seen by investors, competitors and potential customers.
It’s easy to tell when a business hasn’t developed its sales core competency. They give off the impression that they are just “winging it,” reinventing the process for every prospect and opportunity as they go. At best, this is in inefficient and wildly inconsistent way to generate sales. At worst, it can prevent real traction and turn off both prospective customers and investors, contributing to premature failure. Continue reading →
No matter what kind of company you build, sales should be a core business function. If there’s one mistake I see entrepreneurs consistently make, it’s giving the sales side of their companies the short end of the stick. As a result, the sales processes tend to be treated as afterthoughts, rather than top-level priorities.
That’s always struck me as a strange attitude for an entrepreneur to have. After all, the most important thing for any growing business is traction, and there’s no faster way to grow traction than having truly professionalized sales process. When a company is “winging it” with their sales process, it shows. It’s only when a business develops a truly professionalized sales competency that the bulk of investors start to pay attention.
The tricky part for many entrepreneurs is lack of experience with a truly competent sales process. Even those with a background in sales might not know how a professional sales process works at the higher levels. And even when you do know how it works, implementing it can be a challenge. Continue reading →
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One of the biggest mistakes businesses make, from startup to established brand, is misunderstanding the sales development sequence. Skipping over an important stage can result in more than just lost time, it can result in poor understanding of demand, inaccurate customer acquisition costs, and even premature hires.
In this episode, host Tom Ryan explores the first stage in the sales professionalization process: Customers and demand. As always, Tom is joined in the discussion by co-host Jason Pyles. Continue reading →
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Professionalizing the sales side of your business involves more than just creating a strong sales pitch. It’s about of creating a series of core competencies to create long-term, sustainable success.
In this episode, host Tom Ryan and co-host Jason Pyles provide an overview to their upcoming series of podcasts all about professionalizing your company’s sales. Learn why it’s important to develop these core competencies, and get and introduction into some of the key questions they’ll be exploring this week. Continue reading →