All right, all right, I hope you’re doing great! So today, let’s talk about the most important ‘S’ in all businesses. Whether you’re a startup or Microsoft, it won’t change a thing regarding this ‘S’ significance.
But it’s not the significance of this ‘S’ that baffles me, it is the negligence surrounding it. Here, I’m not talking about the oversight of the general population. Nope, here, I’m concerned with the indiscretion of the business population, specifically the young startup community.
Often when startups or founders come to meet me to pitch, most of them focus more on the product, idea, and how cool it is, expansion, fundraising, corporate structure, branding, and whatnot. That’s all right, but the whole time what I’d be or most of the VCs and investors would be hoping to hear will be about the magic word that starts with ‘S’. Okay, let’s disclose the secret. What does the letter ‘S’ stand for in the word ‘Startup’? Ladies and gentlemen, it stands for ‘Sales’, it always has been and always will be.
No kidding, many startups are in dire situations without a significant focus on sales. To be frank, without sales, dear buddy you don’t even have a “business” to look forward to.
So I take this opportunity to discuss a few paramount reasons why startups should prioritize sales more than they do.
We’re All in Sales
The days of only certain people doing sales are long gone. Today, with the rise of small entrepreneurs and startups, most of us work ourselves, and now we all have become salespeople, so stop pretending you aren’t one.
Especially in the startup landscape where mostly everyone works seven days a week, convincing business partners, haggling with suppliers, motivating employees, pitching to investors, and spreading their story across the world, you find yourself spending most of your time trying to move your product along with moving others. So yes, you’re in sales.
New age Excalibur-Technology
Many business pundits have predicted the profession of sales will fall with the rise of technology, but something unexpected happened. Instead of eliminating existing sellers, technology transformed more people into sellers. Furthermore, the Web and the flourishing of smartphones and devices have paved the way for the birth of the entire app economy. Today we live in a day and age in which if you want you can start a business with a smartphone. Can you believe it?
Improvise and Adapt
See, I’m not here trying to blame startups for neglecting sales. I know most of you guys are working with a shoestring budget and can’t afford to hire salespeople. That’s all right, because when you have no salespeople, then everyone in your company is a salesperson and sales is everyone’s job. This marks an influential change in the way we do business. We gotta roll with it.
Out of many ones
In short, segmented organizations where skills tended to be fixed are almost extinct today, like dinosaurs of the past. Now the trend of flat organizations inclines toward having fewer multifaceted people who can do more varied things and those who are good at sales are much preferred. Thus, every day is a sales day when everyone is selling all day.
All the kings’ men
So it’s high time startups and that associated focus on making products people buy instead of devising products they have to sell. But to make the ideal feat possible, every employee in a startup, even the so-called non-sales personnel from technical support to software engineers up to Founder, co-founder, and CEO must go to the field to meet the customers in person (might sound lofty). Oh, I know some of you guys are already getting to throw a hissy fit at me. Let me tell you why this is important even for tech and management people.
Before jumping to a conclusion, let’s ask ourselves a few questions: To who are we creating our business or startup, the app or software? We all know nothing is perfect, there’s always gonna be room for improvement, but how and where are we gonna get the feedback for progress?
God and the customer
So for all the answers you seek, you need all your employees, especially the non-sales peeps out in the field, to interact directly with the targeted customers and make sure the product is meeting their needs. Yes, out in the field they can tackle the customers’ problems on the spot–and, most notably, begin to identify new problems the client might not know it has. And this could lead to some big revelation of a sort. It’s well known that both god and the consumer act in mysterious ways.
With this pro-user approach, instead of selling anything, encourage your workforce simply to help people understand the software or service better, and the value and dignity of your service will move wavering buyers to make a purchase. Miracles happen all the time. Further, interacting with customers around the problem isn’t selling per se. But it sells, and that’s all that matters, don’t you agree? Don’t worry if you don’t but your VC and investors will understand.
Be the change
This new wave of non-sales salespersons marks a significant change in the way we do business. Today selling isn’t just smiling at customers or investors instead, it’s a broader, deeper, and more transcendent definition of service– improving others’ lives and, in turn, improving the world.
So I’d like to invite you all to join this new age, a new movement of selling, let’s be honest both with ourselves and our customers. Let’s make sales more personal and purposeful. And If can; let’s replace the word sale with serve and finally let’s be humans trying to find human problems to solve and make lives better every single day, because that’s how we grow as a species and that’s also how we grow as a business. So ladies, and gentlemen, shall we?
Thank you for reading.