What is entrepreneurial selling or entrepreneurial sales?
The most critical mistake made by the entrepreneurs is managing the early sales of the startup. This is because getting early customers is not enough. But getting the right early customers and managing the whole process is what can bring the company closer to product-market fit. This is where the focus shifts from experimentation to scaling the Organization. Thus, you should know the process of selling from salesmen to entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurial Selling vs Professional Selling
What is entrepreneurial selling? Entrepreneurial or entrepreneurial sales is different from the sales team of a company. In a large company, the salesperson sits on the top of the hierarchical structure of resources. Such resources support the salesperson and include customer service, design team, product managers, and marketing experts. These people provide various brochures, demos, and other case studies and success stories to the salesperson. Hence, the role of the salesperson is broken down into an account executive, prospector, etc.
This is much different for an entrepreneur. This is because he or she has many of the responsibilities on the head. There is no one to rely on to support him or her for selling. An entrepreneur is the salesperson, marketing head, product visionary, and should have the courage to learn from the mistakes and customer rejections. He or she has to balance all of these requirements on a particular day. Hence, the fundamental challenge of entrepreneurial sales is to balance between various priorities while staying focused on the critical aspects of the business.
What is the entrepreneurial Selling Process?
The professional sales process initiates after marketing leaves off. Here are some of the assumptions made by professional organizations-
- The marketing department generates good leads.
- This Department defines the correct market.
- The Marketing Department supports sales with clear positioning.
- It provides human resources to help in managing the process.
But, the entrepreneurial sales process reaches back to marketing and customer service. Various stages in the process of entrepreneurial selling include selecting the target, engaging the prospect, making the match, and doing the deal.
Stage 1: Selecting the Target
Various sellers begin their process by assuming that their target audience includes each person out there in the market. But, it is crucial to define and choose a selected target audience. We can define a market by determining what problems, features, buying habits, and budgets, a group of customers have in common. For this, you should conduct research and development in entrepreneurship.
You can follow this procedure to select your target audience-
- Exhibit the problem which needs to be solved. The problem is to select the entire market of people.
- Apply any one of the following filters – Size of the company, industry vertical, emphasis on specific activities, and geography.
- The goal should be related to the speed of contact and the ability to use business references, cases, and stories to have meaningful conversations with the customers and entice them.
Criteria for the initial target market and good filters.
- Gain access to several customers. Having a single customer is not enough. You should engage a small group of initial customers to ensure that your product is broadly applicable.
- A connection with analogous industries. The problem solved for customers in a market is relevant to the buyers in another segment of the market.
- Deliver real value in a timely way.
Stage 2: Engaging the Prospect
Lead generation is comparatively easier for the existing organizations that already have a product to offer to the market. But, the entrepreneurs face a challenge to use their soft skills and passion to generate leads and convert them into regular clients. So, the entrepreneurs should be creative enough to modify their statements according to the requirements of the customers. They should try harder to start conversations with customers.
Initially, it may take as many as five to 10 attempts to get a response. The established companies also have an internal sales team which are dedicated to the process of lead generation. Lead generation is the process of finding the contact information of the prospective clients in the target market and reaching out to them. There are two places where entrepreneurs can go to generate leads.
- Hot prospect- Hot prospects include introductions, referrals, or personal networking outreach.
- Cold prospect- Cold prospect refers to the cold calls, emails, or creative ways of reaching out.
The entrepreneur needs to reach out to both the sources for lead generation. You can use the hot prospects or the people who know you to receive initial feedback. This feedback can be verified and validated by the cold prospects.
Stage 3: Making the Match
Making the match is a crucial procedure in the process of selling. You should not get into the pitch mode but, rather sell the benefits of the product or service to the customers. For this, you should listen to the buyers’ budgets, needs, and desired outcomes. This will help you to align the features of your products according to their needs. Generally, an entrepreneur lacks knowledge and expertise in meeting the customers’ demands. So, before entering into a conversation with the prospective clients, you should research his or her industry and requirements.
Stage 4: Doing the Deal
After making a match, the entrepreneur needs to assure the buyers about the product or service. The buyers require the most convincing related to the uses and benefits of the product or service. The most important challenge faced by the entrepreneurs is to overcome their overconfidence and desire to win. Such feelings can lead him or her to win the wrong clients. The critical steps of this stage are closing and resetting.
Entrepreneurial sales: Summing up
Even after getting initial customers on board, an entrepreneur has various responsibilities to perform. The company’s success depends upon the entrepreneurs’ ability to continuously improve the sales cycle and reduce the costs. He or she has to create a sales process and recruit the right early customers. Sales business ideas can also help you in this regard. You can get such ideas through effective research and development in entrepreneurship.
Before selling a product, the organization should know how the customers will acquire and use it. This process is known as the sales learning curve. The sales learning curve includes all customer-facing parts of startup-like marketing, sales, product development, and product support.
A perfect understanding and knowledge of each of the above stages happen slowly. The process starts with the company making initial assumptions and further modifying them according to the feedback of the early customers.
By now you should know what is entrepreneurial selling and the sales business ideas from salesman to entrepreneur.