In Startups, the Entrepreneur Has to Be a Rockstar

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Entrepreneurship and startup ventures are inherently difficult pursuits. A founder must have natural creative instincts in problem solving to have a shot at success. After all, there are thousands of decisions ahead with ambiguous parameters that have to be made efficiently.

I tell my kids all the time that everything in life is working against us. That is true for school, sports and growing up. With a startup, all the odds are against success from the beginning. This is why a large weighting factor on investing in startups comes down to the quality of the entrepreneurs involved. If they are rockstars, then there are much better odds for getting to the next level of fundraising, scaling or even exiting.

If the entrepreneur is indecisive, foolish or inexperienced, then it’s hard to justify the investment when mismanagement, inaction or big mistakes can be foreseen. I think everyone has a different mix of success factors, and it’s important to evaluate entrepreneurs holistically. Everyone has flaws. Those shortcomings can be overcome or even beneficial in many different business situations.

So, I look at the whole person.

Here are some important traits I like to see that tell me that an entrepreneur can win in a startup pursuit:

The Entrepreneur Is Hardworking

Working a lifestyle business is one thing. That is great if you are simply maintaining a known business. But if you are starting and growing a business, you better roll up your sleeves, push hard, and put in the hours. There’s no excuse for working minimally. Sweat and blood are part of the deal to give yourself a chance. It’s about the goal, and that is what guides the clock.

The Entrepreneur Solves Problems

You can’t be discouraged and sit in negativity. You have to feel like there’s always a way and an answer is around the corner to everything that comes at you. Startup life is nothing but continuous problems, and problem solvers keep discovering insights and integrate working knowledge into systems, strategies and processes that resonate with the market.

The Entrepreneur is Humble

As Benjamin Franklin said, “Pride is a funny disease. It makes everyone sick except the person that has it.”

Pride is blinding. Humility can open you up to new ways of seeing problems and asking for help when you need it. Yes, be a rockstar with a lot of abilities, but don’t be afraid to ask experts and those who have the experience to help you and get involved.

The Entrepreneur is Creative

We live in a complex world. Being able to assimilate information and turn the massive amount of inputs into creative, often simple effective solutions is critical. Sometimes, getting creative means using conventional tried and true solutions in a new way. I like that kind of thinking.

Creativity can save thousands of hours by employing resources and solutions in newfound ways. It also shows enthusiasm and energy, which are wonderful traits for persevering through the mess.

A Fighting Chance

Just because an entrepreneur has the above qualities is not a guarantee of success. But, as partners, we have a chance at winning with a fighting chance when the odds are against us in an investment venture. Character and consistency with results in the real world tend to be repeatable with rockstars.

The idea, resources, market and many other factors are part of an investment decision. However, the founder who knows how to battle and overcome can usually be placed in different ventures and success tends to follow.

Sales Engagement on Your Website

 

Someone sees an idea from a friend on Twitter about your market or industry. They click.

Perhaps, they search with keywords specific to your product or service offering. Then they see one of the pages from your website pop up.

You may have your Google Analytics set up or other underlying tools to help you understand your traffic. But how many of those visitors did not find what they were looking for? If you have a high bounce rate where people come and leave, then all that work on your website did not invite an exploratory or inviting buyer flow.

There’s typically a gap. The website is a front door for new visitors from search and social media sites to understand who you are and what you do. But that part of the process goes largely unassisted. You are depending on the website visitor to navigate your site and find things for themselves. And like everyone else, they look at hundreds of sites in a given week.

Sure, you can lay out the site according to industry practices with the About page and Contact form. But that step to reach out may require more trust and if you are not getting contacted then your sales conversion process is broken. You are not getting strangers to take the initiative to get into a conversation.

Isn’t the goal of your website to get into a selling conversation? You get visitors that leave. That’s not effective. They may never come back.

What if you could start the conversation earlier while they are visiting and provide an assisted experience? What if you could move website visitors from inattention to full engagement with your offering and educate your site visitors?

You would fill the gap with information and insights. But you do need to have a system and strategy that makes sense for driving continuous sales conversions.

Want to learn how to fill that gap between visitors to sales conversations so you get a weekly pipeline of sales opportunities? Let’s talk.

Converting the Middle of the Funnel

How are you optimizing the middle of your sales funnel?

The middle of the funnel is where sales lead nurturing and follow-up happen. After you get interest from initial contacts from your inbound or outbound selling, there is a phase of trust-building which requires consistency and strategic touches.

The best kind of salespeople to work this sales process are service-oriented people that want to provide a high level of personal service and care.

While you may have gotten attention in the beginning, you now have the job of organizing the pipeline of interested sales opportunities and nurture them with content, information and relationship building.

The failure point in the middle of the sales funnel comes down to people. You want timeliness and relevant information consistently. Ultimately, you are asking people to perform like machines when it comes to sales conversion in the middle of the funnel.

Some of the challenge to gain consistency is to use marketing automation which triggers messaging based on sales prospect behaviors such as a page visit, a clicked link or even no response after a period of time.

The success that sales organizations have had vary based on the management of systems, process and content. It’s a highly involved process that requires full engagement and analysis of sales conversion milestones.

Did buyers move to expected next steps?

Is the ordering, format and presentation of content optimized?

Do salespeople work productively to follow-up 5-12 times?

Are all the buyer profiles captured and accounted for in customer journeys?

Your middle of the funnel approach is not a one and done. It is an ongoing strategic and analytical approach. You let the data accumulated from marketing automation systems and your inside sales team’s follow-up tell you how to adjust your approach.

Ultimately, the goal is to set up a bottom of the funnel event such as a presentation, closing conversation or executive handoff.

Do you have the right systems and talent to make your middle of the funnel process work?

Sales Targeting

We know that everyone is not your customer. A lot of time, money and energy can be wasted in the wrong places and with the wrong people if your sales approach lacks strong sales targeting.

Anyone can mass email, blast aimlessly or waste people’s attention and time. It takes more strategic thinking and effort to dial in how to target your prospective customers and start the conversations with them based on who they are and how they like to engage.

It’s why we work on the sales conversion strategy with thorough effort and attention to the data that your buyers generate from their responses or lack thereof. Analysis of the data and designing the strategy take a lot of work and it is the preparation which allows your investment in your selling pay off. It is aiming in the right direction with the right approach.

We start with sales targeting and then test out our assumptions by executing sales as a partner to drive sales conversations. As we are working the sales process, we are learning, assimilating and refining the approach based on the data that comes back from your audience engagement.

Selling has a lot of moving pieces but there is usually a sales process which emerges and matches how people like to buy. That creates the funnel we are looking for to set up sales conversations with your business development people that can manage the conversation and drive sales conversion deals.

You can just try harder and work. But if you assume that you are likely not dialed in efficiently and that there is a way to approach your customers with much higher probabilities for having relevant sales conversations, then take a step back. Analyze what is happening first. Get some conclusions. Test your assumptions. Build something that will flow continuously for your sales pipeline.

Would you want to optimize your sales targeting?

Setting Up the Sales Opportunity Funnel

If you think of selling and how your previous customers bought, you will likely find that the highest conversion happens after a sales opportunity at the bottom of the funnel. You had a conversation of some sort before they decided to accept your proposal or product order.

Before the high conversion sales opportunity comes, there are a lot of low conversion events that have to take place within your sales funnel such as:

  • Nurturing and follow-up. Keeping relevant information, interest and conversations going consistently on a weekly basis.
  • Attraction and attention. Getting through the noise and allow people to find you online or notice you on social channels.
  • Positioning and branding. Ensuring anyone that lands on your site or pages understands who you are, what you do and why you matter
  • Sales metrics and dashboards. Keeping the relevant digital information front and center so you can act and react to trends and information on a macro scale for engagement.
  • Initial engagement. Reacting with speed to interest on your store front, site or landing pages and persuading people towards a next step.

The setup of a sales funnel has to be done with the customer journey carefully crafted. Then from the initial assumptions, you have to watch carefully and test how the customer travels through the funnel.

At each conversion point, you can do A/B testing to see what makes sense to improve sales conversions.

The goal is to set up the high conversion sales opportunities at the bottom of the funnel. If you can get the opportunity, then the sale becomes a formality. It’s a bit of art and engineering combined with feedback from reality.

Do you have a sales opportunity funnel built? Or are you heavily focused on one part of the sales funnel?

Consider partnering with us to help you build more sales opportunities for ROI.