Selling for startups

Selling for startups

“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.” — Zig Ziglar

Last year, MaRS invited Mark Elliott, co-founder of Venture Accelerator Partners Inc., to speak at a Best Practices event about the fundamentals of business-to-business (B2B) sales. This year, Mark elaborated on that topic for an Entrepreneurship 101 lecture.

Mark believes that every employee at a company should have strong sales skills, no matter what department they work in. You may not realize it, but strong sales skills help you to network and represent your brand, which is something that every employee does.

In his talk, Mark shares his wisdom and experience on how to close more deals. Some of the areas that he elaborates on include:

  • value proposition;
  • targets;
  • tools for customer relationship management (CRM);
  • how to leverage social media;
  • sales tactics, including tips for cold calls;
  • meeting plans to help you get the most out of each meeting; and
  • resources to help you take your sales to the next level.

In his lecture, Mark highlights the four key benefits that B2B organizations are looking for when they make purchases. These are important points to think about and address when you create your value proposition and make sales calls. You may have worked hard to prepare a strong value proposition, but it is still common to strike out in sales.Mark’s tips on how to make those unpleasant cold calls more effective and how to prepare for objections are sure to help you maximize your success rate.

Mark also explains the sales funnel — the steps to the sales process. Following these steps can lead to an increase in sales and help you scale, both important aspects for a startup. Once you have your sales funnel, it is important to keep track of which stage of the funnel each of your clients is at. To keep track of this vital information, Mark recommends using a CRM tool. He explains what CRM tools are, what you can do with them and offers examples, including the tool he uses and recommends for his clients.

Mark wraps up his lecture with a wealth of resources for startups, such as regional innovation centres like MaRS, peer-to-peer groups, blogs, books and more.
Learn how to boost your sales by watching Mark’s full lecture here.

Next lecture: “Negotiations” with Michael Erdle of Deeth Williams Wall LLP on Wednesday, February 13, 2013.


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