5 creative ways to utilize your sales team
If you think sales starts and ends with a pitch then I’ve got news for you: You’ve only just scratched the surface.
Sales is not just about closing deals - it’s about becoming a student of the market, and letting the market show you opportunities to build a bigger, better business.
- optimizing your self-service signup process,
- making a separate offer prospects & customers who would otherwise chose a competing vendor,
- selling a phantom-product to learn about your customers' true wants and needs,
- verifying features before building them,
- or testing the waters before expanding into a new market...
... when creatively employed, sales can contribute to your company's growth in many different ways.
Here are five creative ways to put your sales team to use - apart from “just” selling your product.
What percentage of customers sign up for your product as a result of your self-service process vs the efforts of your sales team?
Simply measuring the performance of your self-service signups versus those that signed up through a high-touch sales process can provide you with valuable insights on how to optimize various parts of your self-service model.
You’re essentially split-testing self-service vs high-touch sales, and then identifying factors from the high-touch sales approach that you can replicate in your self-service process to improve conversions.
(I’ve written about a very well-known billion dollar SaaS company that’s proudly proclaiming they have “no sales people”, but is using that exact approach. You can read about it here)
Are you losing customers to competing vendors? Many SaaS companies try to remedy this by adding more features - unwittingly feeding the feature creep monster. The end result is bloated software overloaded with features… but a terrible user experience.
Take a step back and note why your customers are leaving in the first place. Then consider becoming your own competition.
Develop a competing product that’s specifically designed to appeal to those customers who aren’t served well with your existing product, and start selling it.
For those who have the resources to pull this off, it’s a great way to both recapture lost leads and generate new ones - Maybe even in a brand new market!
Growth point identification
In a similar vein to both onboarding optimization and counter-sales, you can use your sales team to identify points of improvement within your products.
Work with your sales team to develop an imaginative product to compete with your own. Then send out your team to try and sell this fabricated product to your customers.
Are they able to dissuade your customers from your product? Then your (real) competitors can probably too. Use these insights to create a better product before your competition does.
Growing your product or service is almost always good news - Except when it’s not. Sometimes adding or removing features we can upset our previously loyal customer base.
Before you publicly release your updated product, send your sales team out to meet with key customers across varying markets. Have them pitch your update to these customers and gauge their reactions. Good? Bad? Indifferent? These are things you want to know.
By allowing them to pitch a limited release to selected customers, you can gauge public reception and plan accordingly.
Want to go after new market? Rather than setting up a new marketing strategy and collaterals, quickly test the waters by sending some of your reps on a mission:
- Identify ideal prospects in the new market.
- Pitch them your product.
- Assess the response.
This allows you to adjust your product to that market if the reception is poor - a task much easier to accomplish prior to the market expansion.
Sell outside the box
Don’t think of sales as just a revenue-generating activity. That is of course its primary purpose - but there are many other ways how your sales team can help you grow your business.
These five examples are only the beginning. What creative ways have you found to utilize your sales team? Share them in the comments below!