Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
We live in a time where ideas can become businesses at an unprecedented rate. It has never been faster to have an idea, file for a name, quickly get a logo and business address and move on with that idea. This ease of entry, plus the aftermath of the Great Resignation, “Quiet Quitting” and turbulent market disruptions led our economy to a proliferation of new businesses and startups, many of which are small and agile enough to succeed where larger companies would fail.
However, that is not without challenges, as startups are under immense pressure to succeed. They must gain traction and prove their worth to investors while maintaining a sense of normalcy and momentum. However, with new startups, many induce self-inflicted problems in the ramp-up to launch and scale.
We’ve all seen it — the entrepreneur or founder that agonizes over every decision tries to do everything themselves and wastes countless hours over distractions, from agonizing over trivial choices, not making decisions fast enough or even delaying selling the product or service. In the end, startups need to focus on their core mission and not get distracted. Making decisions quickly and efficiently can increase their chances of success.
What are the most common areas in sales strategy that entrepreneurs need to focus on to avoid costly mistakes?
1. Realize what your strengths are, and sell to those strengths
The strength of your brand is essential to find an effective strategy to sell that brand. The team should continuously find direct paths to sales by getting in front of the right audiences, staying consistent and constantly pushing. Branding is vital to reach potential customers, so it is essential to make finding the strength of your brand a priority. Customers must be able to identify with the message that the brand is trying to sell, and they should feel confident in the product or service offered. If a company can manage to do this, then they are well on its way to finding success.
However, it is not always easy to maintain a strong brand, and it takes a lot of work to keep pushing the message and ensure it reaches the right people. There are many ways to market a product or service, but it is essential to remember that not all of them will be effective for every company. It is vital to research what has worked well for others in the past and then adapt those methods to fit the company’s needs. There will always be some trial and error involved, but as long as the team is willing to put in the effort, there is no reason why the company cannot find success.
2. Stop trying to be everything to everybody
Trying to be everything to everybody is a trap that catches many entrepreneurs. Almost every entrepreneur is guilty of this, which needs to be addressed in strategy before execution. They believe that by offering more products or services, they will be able to attract more customers and grow their business. However, this is often not the case. When a company tries to be all things to everyone, they spread themselves too thin and cannot provide the quality of service that their customers expect. One of the worst traps a new startup can find themselves in is overpromising service, continuously introducing new lines or services and overextending resources that are not part of the company’s core.
Additionally, constantly introducing new lines or services can confuse customers and make it difficult for them to know what the company offers. Entrepreneurs need to focus on what they do best and not try to be everything to everybody. By doing so, they will be able to provide the quality service that their customers demand and sustainably grow their business.
3. Find your niche, and sell to it — consistently
Consistency is vital to success. A sound sales strategy should be built on a foundation of core values and principles that are unlikely to change over time. Find your core and niche, do not stop selling to it, and continuously improve the profitability of those sales. This stability gives customers and clients confidence that they know what they can expect from the company. It also allows salespeople to build strong relationships with their clients based on trust and mutual understanding.
In contrast, a “throw everything at it” approach to sales may yield short-term results but is ultimately unsustainable. This strategy is often based on changing messaging, sales techniques and target markets to make quick sales rather than build long-term relationships. Not only is this approach confusing for customers, but it also makes it difficult for salespeople to establish themselves as trusted advisors.
It is also important to remember that industry partners are essential for success. Cultivate these relationships and work collaboratively. Blaming them for failures is not productive and will only damage valuable partnerships. A sound sales strategy is vital to success, informed by a deep understanding of the core audience and built on solid relationships with industry partners.
In the end, consistency is critical to success in sales. Companies and entrepreneurs who focus on building a solid foundation for their business are more likely to weather the ups and downs of the market, find growth and scale.