How to Successfully Scale a Software Business: Tips For Software Founders and People Who Hate Sales
Are you a software founder or software developer? Do you struggle with sales and taking your product to market? Are you creating great software solutions that generate a lot of buzz but no sales?
I know the feeling.
As a software founder myself, I’ve been there. I know what it feels like to have a great product with raving reviews but nobody is buying. You have no idea how to convert that buzz into actual sales because you have no sales experience (I was there too).
The thought of doing sales can seem overwhelming, especially for founders of software companies. You have the technical expertise to create innovative software solutions, but selling? That’s a real struggle.
Yet, you need both of these skills to build a successful software business.
The good news is sales is a lot like developing a software product. There are processes and frameworks that you can follow to successfully sell your product and grow your business, even if you have no sales experience.
My struggle with selling helped me put together a sales process and a winning framework that helped me achieve exponential growth in my business. And that’s why I’m passionate about helping software founders learn the sales process so that they can achieve great success and scale their business.
Here are my top 5 tips for software business leaders who hate sales:
1. It starts with a winning mindset
For many software founders, the thought of putting yourself out there or being stereotyped as a “salesperson” can be scary and overwhelming — and rightly so. If you have only been involved in traditional technical roles, sales can feel like an alien concept.
However, you can’t just hope that the market is going to automatically take to your product without doing the work. The truth is if you are a business owner, you are a salesperson.
So start by changing your mindset and believing that you can do it. Sure, it might not come naturally for you, but you can learn how to sell and get great results in the market.
2. Understand that sales is a process
Software sales is a step-by-step process, much like when you are developing software solutions. You are not going to transform into the stereotypical, smooth-talking, and overbearing salesperson overnight. There’s a process and a technique to it that you can follow to deliver great results.
The Perfect D.E.A.L. Process is a framework that I created after struggling with sales as a software business founder. And it’s great because it’s tailor-made specifically for software sales. In it, it delivers winning strategies and techniques I used to turn around my business and achieve exponential growth.
3. The secret is in the demo
The most important part of the software sales process is the demo. So it’s very important to know how to actually give a great demo.
And, this might come as a surprise to you, but a demo is not a training guide on how to use the software. The worst demo you can do is showing your prospects the whole product and how every button or command works (yup, I’ve done that – cringe).
A great demo is where you focus on your prospects’ pain points and explain how your product solves those pain points. It’s really about coaching and teaching your prospects about their industry and matching their business needs to what the product can do.
Focusing on and really drilling into THEIR problems will get them so “wound up” emotionally that they are sold before you even show them how your product works!
4. In sales, trust is everything
Selling software is going to be tough when you are starting. And that’s because the market has not tested your product. You don’t have social proof, hence the market doesn’t trust you.
Well, how do you earn trust as a startup?
One way you can earn trust is by showing that you have a good understanding of the business and that you genuinely want to solve problems with your product. You can also earn trust and build credibility by positioning yourself as a thought leader in your niche or industry.
And, you can do that easily with social media. You can create a professional LinkedIn or Twitter profile and post informative content regularly. People will see you as an expert in your work and they will want to come to you for solutions. This is a great way to build trust and give credibility to your products.
5. Sell face-to-face, even when you can’t
With the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses have been forced to work remotely. And that means that you are probably going to give your demo over Zoom or other platforms.
Now, there is an element of face-to-face interaction that is missing with working remotely that you can only recover by turning on video. That eye contact and being able to see each others’ facial expression is very important. It will not only help you see their reactions, but it increases engagement and builds trust.
Be sure to point questions directly to individuals throughout your presentation to keep them engaged and focused.
So sales is not as hard as you’ve been made to believe. And really, Discover, Educate, Associate, and Lead are the four pieces you need in your sales process. It’s so simple and it works.
If you can get your prospects to see you as an expert in THEIR industry, you can get them to sign the deal most of the time. Remember, you are not selling the product, you are selling the transformation and the solution that your product provides.