Your Sales Tools

You only need a few tools in your sales toolkit for your early stage sales effort.  This post details the essential items for your sales toolkit.


The foundation of all your sales tools is your messaging.  Spend some time gettting your team “on message” and ensuring that your message is embedded first and foremost in their thinking and then in the script, data sheet and slides that they use.   See my video blog:  Two Minutes on Developing Your Message and my post called: Getting Your Messaging Right from a while back.

Be practical, focusing on benefits, but do not lose sight of the fact that you are selling the future, a big  idea, something amazing and maybe even a little mysterious.

Sales Tools: Script

Develop a script for phone calls, emails and voicemails; your team should have this memorized.  You would think this would make things sound canned and unnatural, but in fact a tight script that your entire sales team hews to will eliminate uncertainty and make easier to change processes as you need to.  Once memorized your sales team can let it go and begin to riff, but only once they have the script internalized.

Sales Tools: Data Sheet

Keep this to two pages (One sheet of paper if printed), make it visual and ensure that the text is concise and evenly balanced between problem, features and benefits.

Sales Tools: Slides

I blogged about slide decks two years ago (Your Slide Deck) and the advice I gave then, which I can boil down to three points, still holds: A. keep your deck brief – 10 – 15 slides at most;  B. make it visual; slides are a visual medium – do not load them up with text; and   C.  Tell a story.  Your audience will retain information best when it draped on the armature of a solid narrative.

Sales Tools: Demo

Early on you likely will not have a product to demo; in this case slideware will suffice.  Whatever you use, it should be simple, visual, tell a story and brief.  Avoid the: “Look at this cool feature” trap, develop a simple demo script, memorize and the discard it.   Test drive the demo by having on of your team members run it for you via webinar; webinar tools (GoToMeeting Webex, etc.) are an indispensable tool but flatten the audience’s experience of your presentation and so you need to manage it accordingly.  “Brief” varies: challenge yourself to develop a mini demo that lasts 10 minutes; 20 – 30 minutes is ideal and anything over 45 is straying into deep-dive-due-diligence territory.

Pricing Methodology

Pricing methodology isn’t exactly a sales tool but it is a key component in what you outfit your sales team with.  In the very early stages you need pricing directionality, structure.  Your pricing will move around a fair bit but you should know how the market prices like offerings, what units it is measured in and what price zone that you are targeting.  When you run betas or trials, resist the temptation to give them away gratis: getting the prospect to sign a check, even if it is very small, is a key part of the qualification process.

As your business develops and you have sales people selling you’ll need be explicit (and firm) about how your price your offering; your pricing model should be a coherent guide for the team.  As a founder, you have all sorts of flexibility in negotiating with a prospect that your sales team cannot and should not have; you need to set up pricing guidelines and honor them.


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