NSRCEL conducted the Sales For Startups seminar on the 2nd of June 2018. The event was an entrepreneurial gathering where successful Co-founders spoke about their first 10 sales experiences. The speaker presentations were packed with insightful data and tools on how startups can increase their sales. One of the reputed speakers was Niraj Ranjan Rout, the Co-Founder of Hiver.
Hiver is a software that provides efficient and quick email management for teams; such as customer support, sales, finance accounts, accounting, and legal departments. In other words, it turns Gmail into a simple powerful help desk. The globally successful company has managed to secure more than 1000 customers in over 25 countries.
Niraj gave an insightful and in-depth presentation of his entrepreneurial journey through sales. Read on to ascertain his key tips and tools for newbie entrepreneurs.
- Don’t look for customers, look for the right product-market
Niraj says that it’s not about finding a few customers that’ll pay a lot of money, but finding a problem and a market with potentially many customers. Instead of focusing on finding customers, focus on finding a product that will solve the problems of a large number of customers. This approach may not be a ‘traditional sales approach’, but it works. The no customizations, product roadmap first approach is a healthy way to build a good scalable SaaS business.
- The No Sales mantra:
Niraj expresses that both he and his co-founders were not salesmen, but engineers.
They didn’t know how to do sales. This meant they had to find another way to do sales without using the traditional selling methods. The approach taken by the Hiver team was to concentrate on product optimization, with the goal of drawing multitudinous customers towards the product.
The company continued to take the approach of not doing sales, by pivoting their energy towards high customer quality service instead. Niraj states that he was virtually available to all his customers around the clock. In fact, his primary job over the last few years has been to do customer support.
- The visibility magic spell: SEO
Hiver has managed to get all its customers till date, through inbound sales. Their centre of attention during the company’s initial years was SEO, Marketplace Presence, and more SEO. This strategy helped them create a bridge between them and customers who were looking for solutions that Hiver provided. The next step was to make it as easy as possible for those who found them and came on their site, to sign up. They also made sure to meticulously track the posted sign up the activity of potential customers; and follow their journey from sign up; to using the product successfully; to payment.
Along with this, it is essential to remember there’s no SEO without good quality content. Niraj and his team spent a lot of time on content optimization. From every word to every sentence length, the content was deeply optimized using multiple tools to ensure customer conversion.
- How to go forward?
After you have been able to secure your first 10 customers, Niraj suggests enterprises will benefit from applying the following basic tenets of selling:
- Inbound lead generation – Be a magnet. When it comes to sales, use the ‘Don’t push, but pull’
- Inside sales – Have a strong inside sales or customer hunting strategy to maximize customer conversions.
- Customer success – after selling to customers, ask yourself, how do you make sure they buy more from you? Your focal should be on customer satisfaction and success.
Niraj Ranjan Rout concluded his presentation with a retrospection of his experience of sales as an entrepreneur over the years. Even though his company was constrained by the fact that all the Co-Founders were engineers and not salespersons, he recommends startups to build a hybrid sales approach. He believes that a small yet efficient sales team working directly with customers; along with his suggested sales hacks can do wonders.
Try out these sales hacks for yourself and let us know your experience. Have we missed out anything? Tweet us your biggest sales hacks for startups and we’ll create another post based on your tweets. Use the hashtag #4startups. Follow NSRCEL for more cool insights on startup events and tips.