Far too many people blame a bad economy, bad timing, or a bad market for the failure of their business. In many cases, one or more of these factors may be legitimate reasons that contributed towards business failure. However, it is much easier to blame external factors than a fault in your own business model.
It can be difficult for entrepreneurs could have done something better, since they are so attached to their products and services. Brilliant minds, designers, and developers can create a fantastic product, but without effective marketing and sales, the business will never succeed.
There is no market need for their product
No matter how much you and the people around you believe in your product, you have to ask yourself seriously and objectively, ‘how can I sell this?’ and ‘who will buy this?’ This may seem obvious, but many former owners of failed startups and small businesses will admit to not considering a sales plan when they developed their business model. It is easy to get caught up in the product side, brushing sales aside as being of secondary importance.
Before you invest great amounts of time and money into developing a product or service, you have to establish whether it is marketable. Instead of just asking people you know, conduct market research – the first step is to research your competitors in the industry and make sure you will not be creating something that already exists. In order to get information and opinions from wider audiences, you can create surveys using free software like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms. You can also carry out A/B testing and arrange focus groups to try out your product.
Here at Breezz, we used social media platforms, specifically Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, to scout beta users. We found 30 awesome small businesses to try out our sales CRM for free, in exchange for feedback. This gave us insights into how to make our platform as user-friendly as possible, and exactly how small businesses use it.
Only after you have established that there is an audience that would be willing to buy your product, should you proceed in developing your product.
They consider their sales team less important
Many CEOs and HR teams do not put as much time and effort into hiring salespeople as they do for other departments. Successful salespeople learn and perfect their skills, which include understanding customer psychology and knowing how to interact with them, through experience and personal research. Software engineers often have university degrees and outstanding technical skills. These two different roles require vastly different skill sets, yet are of equal, high importance.
In reality, you need to be just as careful when hiring your sales team as you are when hiring your development team. A salesperson will struggle to sell a weak product, whilst a great product will never reach anyone without the promotion of a talented salesperson. Every single employee is an investment in the business, yet too many businesses are making the mistake of overlooking their sales departments.
They don’t closely monitor their sales
So – you’ve worked out who to sell your product to and hired some great salespeople. The interaction between a business owner and their sales team should not end there. Now, CEOs and founders need to track the progress of their sales teams. If you establish an organized, efficient sales process, using a CRM platform, salespeople can keep up-to-date with their deals. The sales pipeline shows the each deal, their owner, amount, and sales stage.
The data collected in your CRM will show you where you are making the correct moves and where you are going wrong. For example, a pipeline of ‘lost deals’ shows at what stage each deal is lost, therefore which stages need new and improved techniques. If you see your sales are leaving open deals in the pipeline without creating tasks and following up on these actions, you need to remind them to stay on top of their sales.
Overall, make sure you don’t get too caught up in developing a product that you forget about sales. Sales can make or break a business – so before establishing a business, when hiring your team, and when growing your business, always remember the importance of the sales process. The beginning of the sales process is to find your product is fit for the market need, and stands out against competitors.