Some of the greatest entrepreneurs have one thing in common: They were in sales.
In this episode, I learn how company leaders are building their brand and the special role sales plays. The company, Square Inc. was founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey and launched its first app and service in 2010. Square Inc. markets software and hardware payments products(tools) and has expanded into small business services, including financial services to help businesses run and grow their operations. Among Square's primary products are: a point-of-sale hardware system; software for payments processing and analytics; Square Card, a free business debit card; and Cash App, a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment service.
UNDERSTANDING CUSTOMERS NEEDS
Square’s mission was to ensure Sellers never misses a Sales. In 2009, Square founders saw an opportunity. Small businesses were missing out on sales, so Square created a small, square credit card reader that plugged into a mobile device. Now, Square is a small business giant that’s leaping into new areas like peer-to-peer lending and food delivery and pick up. Find out how sales fuels this successful business adventure.
The story happened in year 2009, one of the founders saw a buyer who wished to buy products and wanted to pay but did not have enough cash. The buyer then offered to pay by credit card. However, the business could not accept credit card payment, hence could not close the sales. Square Inc founders understood there was a need to ensure businesses easy to accept payments.
HOW SQUARE USED CONTENT MARKETING TO GROW
From its early stages, Square focused on customer stories to show how its products made a difference. “Telling our story by showing how our customers are actually using the product is extremely effective — it shows how valuable Square is,” according to the director of product communications and marketing at Square.
Influencer marketing came into play early on. The Square marketing team targeted technology and social-media-savvy shop owners in the Bay Area, and these early customers helped them spread the word. Then the company used niche marketing and focused on specific industries, like beauty shops and food-service providers. Whenever they released a feature that would be relevant to those industries, they engaged highly targeted publications to get the word out.
These stories helped the company’s marketing team fuel word of mouth, which piggybacked off the product’s novelty and ease of use. It didn’t hurt that Square was solving a problem that merchants simply had no other solution for. But the fact that Square’s system was so easy to set up helped adoption grow rapidly. Then the company gained trust by partnering with established entities that their customers were already comfortable with, like Apple, Visa, and Starbucks.
This social proof validated the small business owner’s faith in a new product that could easily help them sell products where they previously couldn’t.
BUILDING A STRONG SALES TEAM
Start from the top:
Some of the greatest entrepreneurs have one thing in common: They were in sales and they build a great Sales Team.
How do we build a Good Sales Team? It’s through learned Behaviour:
Selling computers door-to-door, do you face rejection? Is rejection normal in Sales? How do I overcome rejection? Are Sales team trained to overcome rejection?
Sales skill is a Learned Behaviour, we need to train our Sales talent e.g. how do I manage rejection/failure, how does our brain should be trained to think that failure is the mother of success.
Are our sales people focusing on selling products or services versus we should train sales people to understand value proposition and sell benefits that come with it? Example Square’s Key selling point is business can expect payment in their bank accounts on the next day, need not wait for a few days, this is one of the key values businesses would get if signed up with Square.
· Sales is about PEOPLE, how to motivate sales people in winning sales. How do we even get Non-Sales people inspire sales people? Example Michael Coscetta, Head of Global Sales at Square, was not from Sales, he graduated from Mathematics and Science.
· Do sales people listen to customers and understand businesses pain points? Some of our best software reps had never sold software before joining us. In fact, some of our best closers had never closed a deal before working here.
This may sound unbelievable but believe it. What these individuals may have lacked in traditional sales experience, they more than compensated for with core qualities.
I refer to these as “The 7 Sales Skills That Can’t Be Taught”:
We sell to a huge variety of customers. The market and products around them change so fast, it’s impossible to have up-to-date training and curriculum on every single thing. A naturally curious salesperson can put themselves in the customer’s shoes, get to the bottom of their problem, and present options that meets their needs.
Our leadership team talks a lot about the difference between getting it done and doing it right. I want someone who does both. And I’d rather they miss their quota and do the right thing by the customer than the other way around.
Companies are growing so fast and there will be career opportunities we don’t even know exist at this point. Salespeople who demonstrate the drive to challenge themselves to do more and help companies improve faster will be the ones who will get those opportunities.
Similar to the skill of curiosity, there are more potential obstacles in sales then we can ever build training for. In addition, it’s simply not possible for a salesperson to memorize every single thing they may need to do in their job. Problem-solvers can isolate each specific case and either find or create an answer for it. Problem-solvers find energy, not frustration, in this part of the job.
Stuff happens. Understanding that there is a lot of rejection and ups and downs is a critical skill in sales. You can be 1,000% sure a customer is going to buy and then they don’t. You can offer a far better product than a competitor with double the ROI and still have a prospect go the other way. The salespeople who are the most resilient bounce back the fastest, learn from their mistakes, and grow from challenges.
The salespeople who are self-aware can quickly identify where they need to improve and go straight to the prescription. The reps who aren’t self-aware may abandon their best habits the first time they have a bad month or quarter and not realize what they actually should be working on. The most self-aware and skilled sales professionals are more deliberate with success and know how to repeat it.
7. EMOTIONAL AWARENESS
Salespeople who spend a lot of time on the phone need to be very good at reading a prospect’s emotions without the benefit of a facial expression. Similarly, those on the road need to be highly skilled at reading interactions in a room and knowing when to be more influential and when to back off.
“Sales is not about selling products or services anymore, it’s more about educating customers about your products or services that meet their needs”
---KT MAK, YYC Business Advisory Director.