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Category Archives: Sales & Marketing

How to React When a Customer Prospect Says “No”

By | Business By The Book, Sales, Sales, Sales & Marketing | No Comments

I recently received an email from a couple of young entrepreneurs that I am mentoring that were a bit downcast. They had given their best pitch to a prospective client, but it fell flat and they did not get the business. Here are a few tips that I shared with them on how to think of the sales process as a pipeline (see this blog post that explains the process in more detail along with definitions of the terms used below): As in any pipeline, the more you dump into the opening of the funnel, the more will come out the…

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Defining Customer Service for Your Business

By | Business By The Book, Customer Relationship Management, Sales | No Comments
Defining Customer Service

I’m surprised at how little it takes to make me a happy customer. I’m not a demanding guy by nature, so a business simply has to offer me decent prices and good products or services to get me to come back. If the business’ salespeople treat me like a fellow human being, then that’s icing on the cake. But it’s icing I really like. Lately, I’ve been thinking that my attitude about customer service is an unfortunate sign of the times. You may feel differently, but I view bland or poor customer service as the rule, rather than the exception….

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What Exactly Are You Selling?

By | Business By The Book, Financing a Startup, Sales, Sales, Starting Up | No Comments
What Are You Selling?

As an entrepreneur, your most precious resource is your time and how you invest it. You can invest your time trying to get customers (by solving their problems) and/or you can invest your time trying to get investors. The more time you spend getting customers (selling your product), the less time you will need to spend getting investors (selling your stock). And if you spend enough time getting customers, you will not need investors. And just at the point that you don’t need investors is when they will start pestering you to let them invest. But of course by then…

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How Hard Can It Be to Start a New Insurance Agency?

By | Business By The Book, Growth Strategy, Leadership, Ownership & Purpose, Sales & Marketing, Starting Up | No Comments
Insurance Agency

Q: Thank you for all of the resources on sales and marketing that you offer. I am planning on becoming an independent insurance agent for a large insurance company. Will your resources here, including Venture Academy help me get leads and will that be my biggest obstacle in selling supplemental insurance? A: Our sales and marketing resources and video training do not include “leads”, but cover how to think about your sales pipeline and how to manage it in order to build your business. Selling insurance and building a book of business is a long, slow process. In my opinion,…

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Compensation Plan for a Startup Sales Executive

By | Business By The Book, Compensation Management, HR Management, Human Resources, Sales, Sales & Marketing | No Comments

Q: I am the founder and CEO of an early-stage high-tech startup and I am in the beginning stages of trying to raise $2.5 million in an initial round of venture capital to ramp up operations. I am trying to attract a high-level sales/business development executive to sell for the company on a part-time basis. He has asked for $100 per hour for his base pay, plus 10% commission on anything he sales, plus 5% ownership of the company with an anti-dilution guarantee that his ownership will never fall below 5% no matter what happens to the company in terms of…

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Healthcare Product Company Needs Seed Capital

By | Business By The Book, Channels and Alliances, Financing a Small Business, Financing a Startup, Planning, Selling Your Idea or Invention | No Comments
New Healthcare Product

Q: I’ve developed an innovative product for the healthcare industry, specifically for the hospital environment that improves patient health and safety while lowering the healthcare provider’s time and cost. We are looking for $250k to $500k to fund the manufacture of the first few prototypes and to perform the early sales and marketing effort to get our product to market. What suggestions do you have for me? A: Given the fact that your capital need is $250k – $500k puts you in the realm of angel investors and seed capital investors. While there are many angel investors in the U.S.,…

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Sales Pipeline Management

By | Business By The Book, Sales, Sales & Marketing | No Comments
Sales Pipeline DiagramQ: I" />

Q: I’ve picked up from some of your materials and blog posts that sales pipeline management is a big deal. What exactly is sales pipeline management?  Please explain… A: I do like to talk a lot about pipeline management in my businesses and in my presentations because this is so critical. A typical pipeline might look like the diagram above, where the Universe is the total addressable market and the Targets are the segment of the market you are targeting to win (perhaps a geographic subset or a demographic subset of the entire Universe.) The Suspects are those Targets that have…

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Feast or Famine on Sales

By | Business By The Book, Growing a Business, Growth Strategy, Marketing, Sales, Sales, Sales & Marketing, Social Media | No Comments
Juggling Priorities

Q: I find myself really struggling right now to maintain an even level of sales. My work seems to come in chunks and by the time I’m finishing up, I have to jump back into sales mode and it always takes me a month or two to rebuild enough momentum to bring in more sales. I’m not sure if you can help or not, but any advice would be appreciated. A: What you are wrestling with is the classic dilemma of a small owner/operator that is both selling the service and delivering the service. It is very difficult to do both…

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To Train Up an Entrepreneur

By | Business By The Book, Landing Your First Customer, Leadership, Marketing, Sales, Starting a Part Time Business | No Comments
To Train up an Entrepreneur

We met Andy years ago when we lived in Minnesota. At the time, my wife was pregnant with our first child and whenever she pulled into the driveway, 10-year old Andy bounded over from next door to help her carry the groceries. His normal practice was to race her to open the door before she had a chance to open it for herself. He had also volunteered to shovel the snow from our sidewalk. Andy and his family had just moved in as our next door neighbors, but he had already captured the heart of my dear wife. He was…

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Defining Customer Segments

By | Business By The Book, Customer Relationship Management, Marketing, Planning, Sales, Sales & Marketing | No Comments
Customer SegmentationQ: What exactly are "customer segments" />

Q: What exactly are “customer segments”? A: Customer segmentation is the analysis of your customer base along several dimensions such as: Geography Size of the customer (the size of their organization) Type of customer Size of the customer relationship (how much they buy from you) Type of customer relationship Profitability of the customer Demographics of the customer (such as age, income, marital status and presence of children for consumer customers) Psychographics of the customer (such how the product makes them feel, what they are trying to achieve by using the service, etc.). Once the above analysis is done, then look…

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