Sales Skills Critical for Growing Startup Revenue

A recent post from Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) describes 9 important qualities that all sales people should have. Sales skills are absolutely critical to the success of a startup. A product alone does not generate revenue. All companies require some sort of talented sales force in order to survive. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs that I encounter are hesitant to perform sales. The fact is that all founders are required to perform sales roles. Below, I highlight three sales skills that most of my startups clients fail to recognize, but are fundamental to closing deals and growing revenue.

Putting ‘Minimum’ in Minimum Viable Product

Many startups struggle with the concept of a minimum viable product (also known as an MVP). A number of clients that I work with believe that they need to have a perfectly functional and polished product before they show it to anyone. As a result, they will spend countless hours and significant amounts of money developing and refining their product without any input from a customer. In many cases, these entrepreneurs end up building something that nobody wants, and as a result, their startup collapses due to poor sales.

The Calgary Startup Ecosystem

The Calgary startup ecosystem consists of a large collection of government agencies, non-profits, incubators, and accelerators that provide various support and resources to start-ups. I feel a major challenge with the entrepreneurs in Calgary, particularly the early-phase ones, is that they find it difficult to find these ecosystem players and understand how they can benefit their startup.

The Importance of Product Design

Customers love products with great design. A product may work great and provide real customer benefit, but will struggle to gain momentum and marketing ’buzz’ if it looks unappealing. Therefore, the design of a product (or service) is just as important as its functionality and the value it provides to a customer. In fact, many customers presently expect products to be just as beautiful to look at much as they are reliable and functional.

Don’t Waste Time Choosing a Programming Language for your Software Startup

A client recently asked me for some technology advice regarding his startup. His team is developing software for physiotherapy patients and was curious on whether switching from MySQL to a no-SQL database (MongoDB) would be advantageous. Their development team is intelligent and capable of learning, but had no previous experience with both Mongo and no-SQL databases. The advice I provided to them is the same that I have told countless startups asking such technology questions: