20.04.2020 Startups

“Sales Is More About Listening than About Talking”

Since the outbreak of the pandemic and the start of the lockdown, it has become increasingly difficult for B2B Startups to connect with their target audience and establish trust without physical visits. Nevertheless, crises also offer opportunities for agile players able to adjust their messaging, reassess product-market fit and prove expertise on relevant topics. Manuel Hartmann, the founder of the Sales Accelerator SalesPlaybook, provides tips on how Startups can improve remote selling.

Social distancing, budget cuts at the target customers and short-time work across industries: sales teams all over the world are facing harsh conditions during the corona crisis. Especially for B2B Startups in the process of building their business network and connecting with target customers, it has become difficult to establish trust and closeness among their potential customers. Without physical visits, on-premise pitches and unofficial meetings, it can be harder to build a connection as it is estimated that more than 90 percent of communication is non-verbal. How can Startups connect with customers amid a pandemic?

“Never let a good crisis go to waste. Now is the perfect time to step up on fundamentals and become excellent at sales”, says Manuel Hartmann, founder of the Sales Accelerator SalesPlaybook. The sales expert shared his experience and knowledge with the Startups in the F10 ecosystem during the online session “Remote Selling – How Can You Do Better?”. His first advice for the entrepreneurs is to “adjust your selling style to where the target customers are right now, not where you would like them to be”. This means that you should take the challenges and struggles your target customers are currently facing into consideration when defining the sales strategy. Targeting and tailoring is an ongoing process. “Sales is more about listening than about talking. Find out what your target audience needs and adjust your selling style, products as well as communication accordingly.” Manuel also emphasizes authenticity: “Be honest with yourself and the target customer if your solution currently cannot solve the problems of the target audience. In the long-term, it is better to only provide solutions fulfilling the needs of the target audience instead of trying to sell products just for the sake of sales numbers”.

Invest in high-value content to distinguish yourself from the competition

Good prospecting and personalized messaging are crucial as the attention span of incumbents is limited right now. Make sure to create value before entering in contact with target customers. Use personas to know what creates value for your audience. Invest in crafting high-quality content such as whitepapers to help prospects already before the formal sales process starts. This plays a vital role in distinguishing yourself from competitors. “Be helpful without expecting anything in return. Being helpful is decisive, and it will pay back if you are a valuable member of the ecosystem”, Manuel explains. Another important point is to “keep a human flavour”: give prospects a video by using (even free) software to keep communication positively emotional despite the lockdown. Regardless of whether it is a virtual or a physical meeting, you should always agree on the next meeting before leaving. “The money is in the follow-up”, Manuel says.

Manuel started SalesPlaybook to help founders and sales people of B2B tech Startups dissatisfied with their current market traction grow faster profitably. This provides Startups with a solution to hit product-market fit and scale up sales without hiring expensive sales representatives. Unlike traditional sales trainers, SalesPlaybook provides entrepreneurial, affordable, no-bullshit sales support. Manuel will be holding two sales sessions for the Startups accepted into the F10 Scaleup Program and is eager to further support the Startups in the F10 ecosystem.

 

F10 as THE HOME OF FINTECH brings the financial technology community together to boost innovation in finance – even in times of social distancing. F10 supports and guides innovative Startups on their journey to successful companies while stimulating worldwide collaboration. The next opportunity for Startups with first prototypes in FinTech, RegTech or InsurTech to become part of the F10 community, connect with potential customers as well as investors and benefit from invaluable mentoring is the sixth batch of our P2 “Prototype to Product” program starting in Zurich in August 2020.

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