If your company sells to startups, one of the biggest, most common challenges you've probably run into is simply a lack of capital on behalf of the startup to purchase your product or service. 42% of salespeople say prospecting is the hardest part of the sales process and lack of budget at a target company is certainly one of the reasons why. How frustrating it is to go through a sales process only to find out that despite your best qualification efforts, the company really just didn't have the money to buy.
At the same time, another major challenge in selling to startups (or any type of company for that matter) is timing. How do you make timing work for you instead of against you in the sales process?
One of the most important things you can do is to be the first salesperson representing your particular type of product or service to reach out to a potential buyer. In fact, An eye opening sales study by researchers at Harvard & Berkeley has confirmed buyers have a strong, implicit preference to buy from the first salesperson encountered, even if the difference is just seconds.
But since there are millions of startups out there and you can't be first to reach out to more than a limited amount, how do you prioritize which ones to reach out to?
One very successful strategy is putting these two elements together - leveraging a sales lead database of just funded startups, then implementing an outreach strategy to connect with these recently funded companies ahead of your direct competitors.
It may not happen overnight, but if you have a product or service that is needed by startups and you follow this process, you have a strong chance of improving your sales results. I've seen if first hand and seen many others realize the same success.
Step 1.) Leverage the Power of Software
Instead of perusing free websites to learn about new startup fundings at the same time everyone else does, the best software databases provide real-time alerts of recently funded startups and the ability to search by location and industry.
Why is it important to leverage a startup database? Beyond the obvious time savings for you in being able to quickly find startups that match your targets, the best software allows you to get integrated contact info and receive alerts of new startup fundings as they are filed. This all adds up to a major timing advantage over your competitors in being able to reach out and connect first.
Remember from the Harvard & Berkeley research study - seconds matter. People will more often than not buy from the first salesperson representing their particular type of product or service they have an interaction with, even if the sale doesn't happen right away. That means it's critical you contact these just funded startups ahed of your direct competitors. Even if it is just a voice mail or email, they simply need to hear from you first.
Step 2.) Setup a Personalized Outreach Sequence
To make all this happen, I'd recommend setting up a personalized outreach sequence which goes something like what is below. Of course, this is just a sample outreach. The best messaging, timing between outreach attempts and number of outreach attempts will depend on your business. As a matter of fact, I'd add two more outreach attempts to this sequence with increasing time between outreach attempts.
Just be disciplined to call and send these email sequences out as soon as a new funding that matches your filter occurs.
Day 1: Call/Voice Mail and email below
Subject: Congrats on the Recent Funding Round! | (your name with name of your company)
Hi (first name),
Congrats on the recent funding round! That's a very exciting milestone!
My company helps growing companies such as yours in (their industry) reach their goals through utilization of (description of your product/service). In fact, we've helped many companies likes yours, including (success story companies).
Usually when companies successfully raise funding, (your product/service benefits) is or soon will be a priority, so I thought it might make sense to reach out.
If you'd be open to connecting for a few minutes so I can learn a little about your business and help you determine if (your company name)'s solution might be able to help your reach your goals, just click the book a call button below.
I'd love to learn more about your company. Again, congrats!
-----Wait 2 days---
Day 3: Call/Voice Mail and email below
Subject: re: email the other day/Congrats on Funding Round
Hi (first name),
Not sure if you caught my email the other day. Again, just wanted to see if there was an interest in chatting for a few minutes about how (your company name) helps startups just like yours with (common challenge or goal). Let me know if I can help!
---Wait 3 days--
Day 6: Call/Voice Mail and email below
Subject: Would still like to connect | (your name) with (your company)
I'd still be interested in connecting to learn if (your company) can help with reaching the goals you have in front of you associated with your recent round of funding.
What day/time works best for you?
Step 3.) Be Patient and Disciplined
Imagine you are watching a sporting event - but it was recorded - so you already know your team wins. Would you get nervous when watching if your team hadn't scored half way through the game? No way, because you already know the outcome.
It's the same thing with this strategy. You may not get many sales right away, but over time it will make a meaningful contribution to your success. Moreover, for the low cost and low effort involved - that's a return on investment that is hard to beat.
All you need to do is be patient and disciplined. Remember, most just funded companies aren't going to buy from you immediately. Don't just do this some time to some funded companies. Do it consistently using automation and personalized messaging to make it effective.
For sure, many of these startup companies will get inundated with poorly crafted, ill-timed, one-try attempts by other salespeople, who will then quickly give up when they don't get a sale right away.
What I'm talking about is completely different. Specifically, this is implementing a proven, long-term strategy that really works.