The Guide to Sales & Business Development for Startups
How to close more deals as an early-stage B2B and SaaS startup
As an entrepreneur, you crave that very first sale. It’s one of the first milestones in your wild journey building a startup. Your team has clocked in endless hours of work to create a winning product, your marketing strategy is polished, and finally, you get the chance to see if your blood, sweat, and tears will pay off.
But what if no one buys your product? If you’re worried about rolling out the wrong sales strategies, skipping a beat on business development opportunities, or just want to focus on boosting your sales but aren’t sure where to begin – then you’ve come to the right place.
To prime you for a clean entry into the market and to make a powerful first impression on your target audience, our team at Harvest Builders brings you the all-in-one guide for startup success in sales and business development.
We’ve trudged through global markets to find which sales strategies work and what should be avoided at all costs. We unpack it all – everything from how to hire an effective sales team on a lean budget and the interplay between marketing and sales to the importance of building customer relationships, and more.
By the end of this, you’ll have all the insights you need to generate revenue as an early-stage startup successfully. And no, we don’t mean through investors – we mean through your ideal customers who can’t get enough of your product and company.
Let’s get to it!
- The Basics
- Is business development (BD) just the sexier name for sales? Former Head of BD and Corporate Dev at GrubHub, Steve Sanger, defines the difference.
- Navigating the overlap between sales and BD
- Why your startup should invest early in business development
- Relationship with marketing and product development
- Learn the lingo. Key terms and definitions you should know brought to you by HubSpot.
- Why your sales pitch to customers should be different from your pitch to investors. Watch Michael Seibel, Partner at Y Combinator, dissect the differences in five minutes.
- Sales Exploration
- How to gain market insights for your startup. SalesForce outlines the behind-the-scenes work that’s essential to bringing home the money.
- Listen to your customers’ objections and pain points. WordStream identifies how you can position your startup as the solution.
- 16 sales KPIs you should be tracking
- How to write a sales phone script
- 6 steps on how to get started with cold emails
- Sales Pipeline
- What makes a good sales process? Salesmate breaks down the stages from discovery all the way through to referrals.
- The do’s and don’ts when making a discovery call
- How to choose the right CRM and use it as a sales magnet
- How to nail your product demo and boost sales
- Playing your best hand with negotiation strategies
- 7 closing techniques and why they work, brought to you by HubSpot
- The follow-up that results in a follow-through: how to get a signature on the dotted line
- Sales Strategy
- Why startups can’t survive without building an effective sales funnel. Alore reveals each section of a funnel and the KPIs you can’t afford to ignore.
- The benefits of sales and marketing working together
- Using pain points in your sales pitch
- The importance of building customer relationships
- Why you should qualify your leads
- How to sell to non-believers. Steli Efti explores the three levels of trust and how to flip doubtful prospects.
- Selling to bad-fit customers cripples SaaS growth. Lincoln Murphy from Sixteen Ventures details how a simple sales mistake wiped out $1.2M in revenue overnight.
- 25 proven sales strategies from top entrepreneurs, including Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec.
- Building an Effective Sales Force
- Why all startups need at least one salesperson
- Hire hustlers over sales veterans in your early days. Steli Efti pinpoints the power of underrated sales talent in growing your startup.
- What skills you should look for in a salesperson
- 8 ways to motivate your sales team
- DoorDash’s rise to merchant relationship success. How they started with four sales reps working from a small apartment.
- Extra Tips & Tricks
- What it’s really like to work in sales at a startup
- How to respond to discount inquiries
- Show up in people’s inboxes by using drip emails to your advantage
- Build your waitlist before you build your product. Alex Ponomarev from Rocket Startup discusses how to learn more about your target audience while creating buzz.
- Use templates, scripts, and checklists to automate your sales outreach
- How Neil Patel snagged 100K early bird signups without spending a cent
- A checklist to explode your startup sales growth by Joe Procopio, self-proclaimed multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur.
Startups are known for doing a lot with very little. So you don’t need an enormous budget to attract heavy hitters on your team or the lived experiences to build out the sales and business development functions in your startup.
By managing your customer relationships well, embracing the right tools, and nurturing you sales team, you can develop an end-to-end structure that allows for continued growth, and to close more deals early on.
Now that you have all the essentials in your back pocket, it’s over to you and your team to seal the deal.