For your startup, having a proven sales strategy is critical for your initial — and sustained — growth.
If you want a successful sales organization, getting your team onboard and empowering them to give their all for your company revolves around the sales strategy you use.
It can be the difference from your business looking like a superhero in the startup world and never getting mentioned at all.
To empower your team, you need to give them a structured plan that breaks down the goals, decisions, and actions they’ll need to take in order to properly position your offer in front of your target market.
Including each of the sales procedures you’ll use, activities you’ll perform, and how your product placement is achieved will help your team understand how to achieve the targets you’ve set.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to 5 awesome sales strategies for startups that will help you lay the foundation your team needs to help you hit your biggest goals.
2 Main Types Of Sales Approaches
When it comes to the actual approach you can take to generating sales in your company, there are two main approaches you can take: inbound and outbound.
Depending on your available startup capital, one may be better for you in the beginning than the other.
Ultimately, though, both work incredibly well when used in the right way, which you’ll see as we start breaking down each of the strategies in this guide.
To help determine which one’s right for you right now, here’s a few examples of how different companies are able to utilize each of these 2 main approaches.
Example #1: A clothing brand that wants to engage with their audience on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook would be utilizing an inbound strategy.
They may share style tips, conduct polls, and interact with their audience — creating a community around their brand — with the goal of getting people to click links or reach out wanting to know more.
This connection can help lead to increased brand loyalty and, ultimately, more sales.
Example #2: A software company may create free guides, blog posts, and videos that share information about solving specific problems related to their industry.
By providing these free resources, they’re able to attract potential customers looking for solutions and eventually guide them toward purchasing their software.
This is how ClickFunnels has grown to become one of the largest marketing companies in the world.
Example #1: A brand making organic skincare products might attend industry-specific trade shows and exhibitions to showcase their products to other businesses.
By establishing relationships with these other businesses, the skincare company is able to distribute large amounts of product without having to sell to each of those consumers on their own.
Instead, the businesses can distribute the skincare company’s products to each of their customers.
Example #2: A B2B company selling office supplies might use a list of businesses in their area to make cold calls and introduce the products they sell.
Then, if those companies need the products, they’ll place orders directly over the phone and maintain contact with a sales rep at the office supply company.
This direct approach can lead to immediate sales or appointments with key decision-makers who will purchase office supplies on a consistent basis.
Which Approach Should You Use?
While both approaches are incredibly effective, the one that you use (especially in the beginning) is determined by the type of organization you’re looking to grow.
If you want to sell direct-to-consumer, an inbound-heavy approach may work best for you.
However, if you’re looking to avoid direct-to-consumer and, instead, let other businesses market your products to their consumers while you market to the businesses, an outbound approach may be key.
How Is A Sales Strategy Different Than A Marketing Strategy?
While there may be some overlap between your marketing strategy and your sales strategy, they’re actually two different systems that work together to achieve the same goal.
In general terms, marketing is how you get attention and sales is how you convert that attention.
To understand some of the differences between the two, check out this chart:
|Aspect||Sales Strategy||Marketing Strategy|
|Focus||Directly selling products or services to customers.||Creating awareness, interest, and desire for products.|
|Stage in Customer Journey||Later stages, converting potential customers into buyers.||Earlier stages, building awareness, interest, and desire.|
|Tactics||Personal selling, negotiations, presentations, etc.||Advertising, content marketing, SEO, social media, etc.|
|Target||Individual potential customers or businesses.||A broader audience to attract potential customers.|
|Measurement||Sales volume, conversion rates, revenue, etc.||Brand awareness, engagement, lead generation, etc.|
|Tools||Sales calls, meetings, CRM systems, etc.||Advertising platforms, social media, content management, etc.|
To give you an example, let’s take a look at how Apple has built their business.
Sales Strategy: Apple’s employees inside of their retail stores are trained to provide personalized service, understand their customer’s needs, and guide them toward purchasing the right products.
This hands-on approach helps convert store visitors into customers.
Marketing Strategy: To get those people into the store, though, Apple relies on ads that tell a story, with a heavy emphasis on creativity, innovation, and lifestyle.
When people view Apple’s ads, they see the type of person they want to identify as which leads them into the store to check out the products they’re interested in.
Apple’s marketing strategy helps grab attention, raise awareness and drive people into the store.
Their sales strategy helps ensure a smooth buying process and satisfied customers.
As a startup, it’s going to be really hard to compete with Apple’s marketing and sales budget.
However, there are a handful of sales strategies you can use to start raising awareness, generating leads, and converting those leads into new customers for your business.
Each of the strategies
#1— Building Sales Funnels
A sales funnel, if you’re unfamiliar, is a marketing term for the journey that your customers will go through while they’re purchasing your products or services.
A good funnel will help you understand what your prospects are thinking or doing during each stage of that journey so you can invest in the right marketing strategies and channels, make your messaging more relevant to each of them, and convert more of them into paying customers.
There are 3 main stages to a sales funnel:
Top Of Funnel: This is your marketing and how you’re raising awareness for your business. This is the awareness and interest stage where you’re helping prospects learn about who you are, the problems you solve, and how you solve them.
It also helps them evaluate their interest level by helping them think about the problem you’re going to help them solve and letting them perform competitive research to ensure that your business is who they want to work with to solve it.
Middle Of Funnel: This is your actual sales process and how they become customers. In this stage, prospects are presented with information about your business, allowing them to dig deeper into what you offer, your pricing, and the different packages that are available.
All of the work that you’ve done with your marketing comes down to the middle of the funnel and whether or not your prospects want to make a purchase. If they don’t buy, you’re able to follow up with them to ensure you’re staying top of mind.
Bottom Of Funnel: These are your customers that you build relationships with. Once you have acquired them as customers, the relationship-building and nurturing goes into effect to ensure you have a chance to turn them into repeat customers.
All of this can be completely automated, too, which makes it perfect for inbound approaches.
When you use a tool like ClickFunnels to build your sales funnel, you don’t even have to be (or hire) a developer and designer to start converting more of the attention you generate into new customers.
To get started, click here to grab a free trial now. Then, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Pick Your Sales Funnel
It all starts with picking out the type of sales funnel that is scientifically pre-designed to sell YOUR specific product or service.
With ClickFunnels, you have access to 100+ different funnel templates you can use that will let you start plugging in your messaging and product/service photos.
Once you’ve chosen a pre-built funnel flow and template, you’ll get to edit each of the steps that your leads and prospects will take on their customer journey.
If you’re looking for some support around getting the right funnel template and flow, grab a copy of our Secrets Trilogy.
It breaks down exactly how to attract attention and then uses sales funnels to convert that attention into new subscribers and customers.
Step 2: Pick The Design
After you’ve chosen a proven funnel template and laid out your funnel flow, the next step is to start choosing the design elements you want to use.
You can modify each element with our intuitive, drag-and-drop editor so you’re able to build a page style that suits your brand and your goals.
Step 3: Set Up Your Follow Up Funnels
Finally, once you’re ready to go live, you’ll want to shift focus into building your Follow-Up Funnel.
This type of funnel helps you stay in touch with people who may not be ready to move forward right now so you have another opportunity to convert them into a customer down the road.
To learn more about automating your follow-up and creating high-converting Follow-Up Funnels, click here now.
#2— Cold Emailing
While building a funnel is primarily focused on your inbound sales approach, if you want to grow fast you’re also going to want to use cold emailing to get in touch with prospects.
If you’re unfamiliar with the strategy, cold emailing revolves around sending highly-personalized emails to someone that you haven’t established a connection with previously.
The goal with these emails is to initiate a conversation where you uncover whether or not they have a problem that you may be able to help them solve.
And there’s a few good reasons to use this strategy:
- It’s Low Cost: Cold emailing is one of THE most cost-effective strategies you can use to generate sales since nearly everyone has an email address and it doesn’t cost anything to email them.
- It’s Scalable: There’s a ton of different services available to help you send out emails at scale, letting you send 1000’s (or even 10’s of 1,000’s) of emails a day.
- It’s Personalized: Based on the information you plug in, you can personalize each email that’s being sent so they don’t look like mass-automated spam messages.
- It’s Data-Driven: Cold emailing lets you collect data like open rates and clickthrough rates to help optimize your campaigns as you begin to scale.
Now, for your emailing to be effective, there’s a handful of elements that need to be met:
- Short & Sweet: When you’re sending someone a cold email, you need to make sure the message is short, sweet, and to the point. Since people are busy, they’ll usually ignore long messages.
- Personalized: Whenever possible, you want to personalize the email that you’re sending to ensure that people reading it understand what’s in it for them if they move forward.
- Social Proof: Including a bit of social proof and showcasing how you’ve helped other people like the person you’re emailing can help establish credibility & increase conversion rates.
- Valuable: Making sure the person you’re emailing understands what’s in it for them and the value they’ll receive from the message is critical to get them moving forward.
- Clear CTA: If you want someone to take an action, don’t just leave it up to chance. Instead, include a crystal-clear CTA that explains what they should do next & why it matters to them.
Here’s a breakdown of a great cold email message to help get your creative wheels spinning:
Here’s an example of that formula in motion:
And, to make it as easy as possible for you, here’s a basic framework you can use:
- Subject: Hey [Recipient’s First Name], Can [Your Product Name] Help You Too?
- Hi [Recipient’s First Name],
- I’m [Your First Name], from [Your Company Name]. Saw what you’re doing in [Specific Area Related to Your Product], and it’s pretty cool!
- Ever thought about making it even cooler? We helped [Name of a Recognizable Client or Industry Leader] do just that with [Your Product Name]. It’s a simple tool that can [Specific Benefit, e.g., increase efficiency by 30%].
- [Include a Clear Call-to-Action (CTA), such as: “Would you be available for a quick 15-minute call next week Or Can I send you a demo invite if you’re interested.”]
- Feel free to check out what others are saying about us: [Link to Testimonials or Case Studies].
- Catch you later? [Your Full Name] [Your Contact Information]
- P.S. No worries if you’re not interested. Just thought I’d reach out! 🙂
The framework above includes each of the elements of a highly-effective cold email so all you have to do is plug in information about your product or service and hit send!
#3— Starting With A Niche Audience
One of the easiest ways to gain traction in a competitive industry and start driving sales into your business is by starting with a niche audience.
Without dialing into a niche, you’re essentially trying to advertise to everyone in the target market.
When you choose a niche inside of that bigger target market, though, you’re able to custom-tailor your messaging specific to them so you grab more of THEIR attention and spend less time & money doing it.
To give you an example, Amazon (arguably the largest retailer in the world today) started out by focusing only on selling books before branching out into other product categories.
Stripe, an online payment processing company, first solved problems for developers trying to integrate payments before they branched out to offer other solutions.
The testimonial tool below started by focusing on creators first — instead of anyone and everyone that could benefit from collecting more testimonials.
To get started, begin identifying the problem or need that isn’t being adequately solved by existing products or services.
Think about the old adage “Build a better mousetrap”.
This could come from your own observations, and experiences, or from talking to potential customers.
For example, if you have built a time management tool, you may notice that existing productivity tools don’t cater specifically to freelance writers juggling multiple projects.
To uncover these problems, you’ll want to break down broad markets into more specific market segments and think about the unique characteristics or needs within those smaller groups.
In the example of using freelance writers, there might be a smaller niche of freelancers who specialize in technical writing and need tools that help solve their unique problems.
You can offer bundles or plans that are tailored to this smaller niche, that integrate with preferred writing tools, with customized templates for different writing styles, for instance.
Then, instead of targeting anyone and everyone in the freelance writing market, you shift your focus into writer-specific platforms, such as writing forums, Facebook groups, and blogs.
By only focusing on technical freelance writers instead of all freelance writers, you’ll gain more traction with your offer and make the sales process significantly easier — for both you, and them.
#4— Creating An Email Sales Sequence
If you’re growing a business, you’ve heard the term “The fortune is in the followup”.
Since most people coming into your business won’t purchase the first time they encounter your offers, following up with them is critical to the success of your startup.
Just like a key salesperson would continually follow up with prospects over the phone or in person, your email sales sequence will continually follow up with prospects online.
At the core of the strategy is a series of emails that will be pushed out to people who have subscribed to your email list.
Each of these emails will touch on different objections and pain points, showcase various features, answer questions your prospects may have, and show what’s in it for them when they purchase.
The key objective for your email sales sequence is to convert window shoppers into new customers without you being actively involved in the process.
To help you see what an email sales sequence looks like in the wild, check out this example:
This email series is from Ship30For30 — a cohort-based writing course.
It focuses on the challenges that writers face, offers potential discount opportunities, and tips on how they can make their writing more effective — while letting them know there is more inside the course.
When it comes to building your own sequence, think about the objections your prospects might have, the features they’ll benefit most from, and questions they’ll need answers to before they buy.
Then build your sequence around those, with one email touching on each.
To help get your creative wheels spinning, here’s a basic email template you can use:
Day 1 Subject Line: “Struggling with [problem]? Here’s how to solve it.”
- Introduction to the problem and how it shows up for them.
- Identify what it should be like without facing that problem.
- Briefly hint at a possible solution existing for it without revealing the solution.
- Engage with a question or call to action, like “Have you faced this issue?”
- Encourage them to click through to uncover the solution.
Once you’ve created the emails, you can plug them into an automation inside of ClickFunnels.
In your ClickFunnels dashboard, you can create a workflow and then plug in each of the emails you’ve created. Deployment of those emails will be fully automated based on triggers you’ve set.
And if you’re looking for a bit of creative help, the included email templates can be fully customized based on the niche market you’re looking to serve.
If you haven’t already experienced ClickFunnels 2.0, click here to start your free trial now.
#5— Releasing Live Or Recorded Demos
When you want to convert more of your target market into customers, releasing live or recorded demos is a great way to achieve your goal.
These demos can showcase how your products or services can solve the problems that your market are facing while giving them an opportunity to ask specific questions.
Now, with that comes one big question you probably have right now… should you do live? Or recorded?
The answer there ultimately depends on the strategy you’re taking, the stage your leads are in, and your own personal bandwidth.
If time is scarce for you, putting together a recorded demo can be the play.
However, if you’re looking to grow as quickly as possible, hosting a live demo on a weekly basis can be incredibly effective for driving sales fast.
It’s one of the strategies recommended in The Secrets Trilogy.
In that series of books, we recommend you host a live recorded demo (or webinar) on a weekly basis so you can refine your message, raise awareness, and generate sales at the same time.
By performing the live demo (or webinar), you’re able to directly interact with your audience, getting feedback on how to improve your messaging, while answering questions that can convert the attention you’ve collected into sales for your startup.
Then, once you’ve nailed the message, you can include a pre-recorded demo (or webinar) into your advertising, follow-up sequencing, and other marketing strategies.
To see what that looks like, here’s an example of a pre-recorded demo:
Taking this strategy one step further, here’s an example of pre-recorded and live:
And here’s an example of a live-only demo:
This is a strategy that can be customized based on your own marketing and sales goals, the time you have available, and whether or not your specific audience would resonate with product demos.
If a product or service demo is something they would benefit from (and engage with), tapping into this highly-effective strategy can become the foundational sales strategy your startup comes to rely on.
It’s one of the biggest reasons ClickFunnels has grown to become a 9-figure business in just 3 short years and one of the first places we recommend people begin when they’re in the startup stage.
When it comes to growing your startup, using proven sales strategies is critical to your success.
From helping your sales team get onboard and empowering them to go all-in with you to grow the company, to make your business look like a superhero to your target market…
…the sales strategies you start (and grow) with can be the difference between hitting your goals, making the right decisions, and taking the right actions — or getting little to no traction at all.
If you implement each of the sales strategies that we’ve broken down for you in this guide, you can set your sales team up for success and ensure they’re helping you meet the targets you’ve set.
On top of that, you’ll set yourself up to have a bigger impact while generating more revenue as you do it.
To help fast-track that success, use a tool like ClickFunnels to build each of these sales strategies on.
You can click here to start your free trial now and begin implementing each of the strategies we’ve broken down for you in this guide.