How to build your sales machine according to Michael Humblet
Sales is the most important aspect of getting a startup off the ground. The cash flow it produces by selling a product or service to early adopters is essential. But how do you build your sales machines to fuel your growth? We got some great advice from Michael Humblet during his keynote speech at our Bootcamp, where he helped startups hit the ground running.
Forget the classic buyer journey: here’s the value journey
The nature of sales has fundamentally changed. Your prospects are behaving completely differently than they were before, but have your sales techniques evolved along with them? It’s clear that the era of business cards is over. How do we adjust to this new reality, and how can we really scale our sales? We need to make sure that we are attractive for new customers and that we build an efficient sales machine.
The classic way to acquire new customers is to start with cold outreach and build up to providing content and value. Now it’s time to reverse that funnel. It takes around five touch points to reach someone you do not know. Your outreach message needs to be designed to keep the door open and go back with more information. So no hard selling in your first message, as you will be dead in the water if there is no reaction.
Remember that value will always win: give first by sharing a piece of content that will help your potential customer’s business or help them personally. If just one channel isn’t working, use cross media channels and make sure prospects see you on more than one channel. Follow up with enough time in between each contact: don’t be too eager, this will not work. Persistence without pushiness is the key to success and long term growth.
Keep your calls for the last phase. The goal here is to have a short conversation, not you trying to dazzle the potential customer. Put the prospect’s problems first, listen to what they have to say and respond from the perspective of trying to help or add value. If this goes well, the next step is a short meeting. A 10 minute coffee works well for this step, and here you can get ready for sales. But we will cover that in another blog!
All about people
Over and over again, we are confronted by the fact that people trust people more than companies. Personal brands as a sales strategy are an essential element of the future of sales. LinkedIn data shows that conversion from personal brands is higher than via company pages.
If you look at how the influencers and the gurus behave on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll see that they are starting to act more and more like companies. It works the other way around as well: that companies are behaving more and more like individuals. This includes letting individuals (like founders) be the voice of their company to create a more personal connection with their audience. Looking at the evolution of tech towards web 3.0, we'll see a shift towards more credibility of individuals and thought leaders (worth another blog on its own).
So what goes into building a personal brand? First of all, you want to control the narrative about yourself. You are important, because people are curious about the leaders of companies and their ideas. At the same time you need to build your own equity, in your own name. You will generate leads and interest via your personal brand towards the company you work for, so clearly this is a win-win. Whatever platforms you choose to communicate on, include some good pictures of you, preferably in front of a crowd. Add a short bio with a personal element, and a way to contact you.
Nobody knows you, so start building the content machine
The biggest obstacle to growth is so obvious that we ignore it: no one knows you. This counts for freelancers, sales assistants, executives and business leaders. You do all your sales and marketing around your firm, but you forgot the most important one: your own brand. The first thing that needs to grow your business is yourself. It’s time for your future prospects to get to know you.
"I don't have time to create content".
This is the perception most companies have. Building content is very time consuming. The only option is to be highly efficient and start thinking in scale: setting up a content machine by batch-producing scalable content. This can be video, written, audio or photo content. For example, if nobody knows Michael Humblet, he can produce videos of expert content about sales, combine them with blogs on different specific sales topics, and disseminate them widely via different social media channels.
Are you ready to build your professional sales machine and see some real results? Sign up for our Market Me program before November 7!