If we define “marketing” as creating interest in your product or service, then “sales” is the process you use to influence the customer to actually buy.  Sales is the feedback to understand your market.

So many start-ups are rushing to do a marketing campaign to a large audience. Simply put, today’s consumer is swamped with marketing messages and very critical of any business that claims to be the best (without verification, usually in the form of customer reviews).  Remember the goal in a start-up is not to just reach a large audience — it’s to reach the right customer. The best way to learn how to reach the right customer is through selling your product or service. It means selling to a small number of users – but that can make all the difference for your business.

Focusing on sales helps you:

  • Develop a one-on-one relationship and identify your target customer
  • Confirm how your messaging is coming across and adjust accordingly
  • Find out what the resistance is to your price and what’s really important to the customer
  • Fine tune your product or service and its features or benefits
  • Evaluate the sales process and learn how the customer experiences the transaction
  • Quickly understand why they will or won’t buy from you

The sales process will help you catch faulty assumptions, saving you thousands of dollars and effort later.  Sales makes you go deep! This information can be used to build a more effective marketing strategy (go wide).

If you don’t have a product or service yet then please, please do your business a big favour and get a prototype. Get feedback before launching (that includes developing any kind of app).

Beware of doing marketing too quickly because you’re doing it at your own peril. Most marketing plans I read are vague, with grandiose statements and  little to no execution.  Instead develop champions: customers who love your product/service.

So why don’t most start-ups put enough effort in their sales process?  Because selling is hard work. Marketing gets all the glory – nifty logos and cute tag lines and deciding how to design your website are so much more fun.  Ultimately, you will need to plan out your marketing. But like anything in life, there are no short cuts. Sales is not an option for your business – it’s your gateway to success.

Written By: Dominik Loncar, Futurpreneur Canada Entrepreneur-in-Residence, dloncar@futurpreneur.ca 

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