Imagine a hall with hundreds of people who sit in front of a well-lit stage. A person in a slick suit enters the stage, approaches the microphone, clears the throat and says, “Hello, we are KindGeek, and we don’t have a traditional sales team.” A soft round of applause from the viewers who nod understandingly fills the room. The person gives the applause to fade away and continues, “I think a lot of you can relate to our story. We started small: with several people, in a small office, a lot of overtime, and sleepless nights. Eventually, our dedication paid off; we’ve grown bigger, to 140 employees and dozens of successful projects in our portfolio. Now, we look back and realize that all this time we’ve managed to function well even without a traditional sales process...”
That’s how I envision a conference for companies that function without sales departments and want to share their experiences. The “sale-less” companies are a prevalent and growing phenomenon not only among small to medium companies but also among multi-billion organizations, such as Atlassian, which feel themselves great without the good old sales process.
So, the central question is, “How to be Successful without a Traditional Sales Team?” Our answer to this question consists of three parts:
1) Your Employees Sell
2) Your Brand Sells
3) Your Content Sells
If these three factors come together, the sales process becomes a natural continuation of a company’s business activity and generates a lot of new leads efficiently.
1.Your Employees Sell
Every employee that interacts with a customer is a salesperson because he or she can bring you new leads, intentionally or not. For instance, according to Implisit's analysis, 3.6% of employee and customer referrals lead to deals. It is a significant number considering that only 13% of leads result in sales opportunities, and only 6% of opportunities lead to deals. Therefore, the way your employees communicate with clients matters as much as the quality of service your company delivers.
It is essential to note that only employees who are enthusiastic about their work and company can effectively help your organization grow. Otherwise, they can rather harm your company’s image.
And there are three ingredients to the recipe of enthusiastic employees:
1) Employees should love the company. Individuals who work for a company should feel comfortable, cozy, demanded, and that their potential and creativeness are being appreciated and manifested.
2) Employees should feel the company. Workers should understand a company's corporate culture and values.
3) Employees should understand the company. Your team should know pains and gains of a company, be constantly updated on important changes in a company’s life, and realize a company’s goals.
As you see, it is all about effective internal branding and creative HR management.
The rule is simple: your company works for employees - your employees work for your company and bring in new clients. Such an environment cultivates within workers passion towards their company and profession as well as the desire to contribute to the organization’s success and growth.
Creating a proper environment so your employees can become effective salespersons is especially relevant in the software development industry, where not only PMs, engagements managers, and top management but also developers often communicate with clients.
2. Your Brand Sells
The proper branding of your company online and in the real world can boost your sales as well. In 2012, McKinsey conducted a study according to which brand drives sales in 19%, 18%, and 14% of cases in the USA, Germany, and India respectively. At the same time, roughly the same or lesser percentage of the sales success was attributed to the traditional sales processes.
In the era of saturation, it is essential to pop out and attract attention, and there are two ways of attracting positive attention to your company:
- online branding
- real-life branding
There are three parts to the successful online branding:
Make your best to ensure that the website is pleasant, stylish, easy-to-use, informative, and up-to-date. The website should have all the information your clients may seek in just a few intuitive clicks away from the landing page and also be captivating enough so people have the desire to visit it one more time. Also, often your website is responsible for the first impression your company creates. And the power of the first impression is no joke.
2) Social Media Presence
That’s not news that in order to appear “alive” on the Internet, the company should have active social media with engaging content. We would not do justice to the importance of the social media presence by stating its obvious benefits because nowadays, the absence of social media activity is outright branding self-harm. Just keep your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Youtube, or other media channels you consider important active and engaging.
3) Cooperation with other online resources
By cooperation with other online resources, we mean trying to contribute to websites of other organizations to improve your online presence. For instance, KindGeek has already cooperated and continues with SeedLegals, Clutch, and Lviv IT Cluster, which provided some great opportunities and allowed us to attract more attention to our brand. Also, consider starting a Medium account.
As for the real-life branding, we suggest conducting different educating and networking events. Kindgeek had some experience by conducting “From Idea to Investment” event in London in cooperation with Seed Legals as well as various local events, known as TechTrams, where IT professionals shared their experience and knowledge.
In the right hands, branding is the continuous sales process that lasts. adapts to the market, and routinely generates new lead opportunities.
3. Your Content Sells
Annoying people with interruptive messages is not really a viable advertising option today because ignoring the ever-present ads has become a second nature of modern consumers. At the same time, creating content that is useful and valuable for your potential client is just the right thing to do because the inbound market generates useful content and also has proved itself to be efficient and inexpensive. Relevant, well-researched content drives more people to your resource and helps to sell your product or service.
Presentations, articles, studies, researches, analyses - all this will help you attract attention to your company and will show people that you are ready to invest your time and money to create meaningful content that makes a difference.
The one thing is to simply claim that you care about your customers, and the other thing is to actually put some real work into caring about your customers. And if you do so, people will notice and appreciate it.
If you do not have a sales team and a traditional sales process, it does not mean that you need to create one in order to be successful. In fact, you most likely already have basic elements that require adjusting and improving to create the implicit sales process that would be a natural continuation of the company’s business activity.
Passionate employees, powerful branding, and comprehensive content can make the absence of the sales team completely unnoticeable and drive the success of your company.