Key Sales Tips for Startups

Day 2. September 2021 posted Start:up Slovenija

Startup companies often wonder how to approach customers, increase sales, maintain good customer relationships, why their sales are not increasing and what they are doing wrong. As part of the content support of the Startup Plus Program, the Slovene Enterprise Fund organized the Sales Accelerator 2021 (Pospeševalnik prodaje 2021) program, which provided new knowledge and solutions for successful sales promotion to recipients of P2 start-up incentives, SK75 and SK200 convertible loans and SI-SK co-investments. The program is led by experienced sales experts Primož Hvala and Žiga Komac, who advise companies in the field of digital strategies, optimization of sales processes and increasing sales.


You can find concise advice from both experts to help you improve your sales process and increase sales:

1. The most common sales mistakes startups make
2. Four simple tips to improve your sales result
3. Tips for startup founders
4. How to maintain a good relationship with key customers
5. Key factors influencing successful sales.


1. The most common sales mistakes startups make

​The experts pointed out the most common mistakes made by startup companies. These are:
Lack of sales focus

  • Companies pay too little focus to sales activities related to achieving monthly goals. It is important that the company is aware of whether the goals it has set have been achieved or not. If not, companies must try to achieve them the following month. 

  • Carrying out various marketing activities that you're not improving
    It is not only necessary that a lot of marketing activities are carried out in the company, but it is also incredibly important that they're constantly improving and upgrading. 
    Example: Ineffective mailing. It's necessary to find out why it's not doing its job and improve it in accordance with the gathered information.

  • Forgetting the importance of direct communication
    In the end, customers need a "push" to buy products. This "push" is much easier to achieve with the help of direct communication, e.g. a telephone conversation, rather than written communication.

  • Differentiation of your products
  • Companies forget to emphasize what makes their product better than others, especially in front of customers.

  • Complicating and using foreign words
    More and more companies complicate and use foreign words when selling products, but customers don't understand them.
    Tip: Even if you sell outside Slovenia, use simple words that our customers will understand.

  • Problems and pain
    Consider what someone’s pain is. People will buy a product from you if something pains them. We always have to think about the pain and problems, how to present them to customers and also sell them.
  • Questions
    When it comes to the sales process, we ask too little and anticipate too much. There are practically no sub-questions and teasing because we fear rejection. It is important that we have at least 5, 6 or 7 defined key questions or information that we want to obtain from the client.

  • Measurement and recording
    Many startup companies forget to measure and record data. In sales, it is very important to test as many different concepts as possible. With the help of background statistics, we can see which concepts bring better results and which don't. It is necessary to stick to the good ones.

  • Also, when sending emails to customers, it is advisable to compose 5 different emails that you will send to 500 customers. You then analyze why one works better than the other.


2. Four simple tips to improve your sales result

Digital strategist and lecturer Žiga points out four key things that affect sales success:

  1. Automation. It is necessary to automate everything possible, this includes administrative matters, recording activities, etc.
  2. Monitoring and measurement. Entrepreneurs should monitor and measure everything and learn in this way. Let them run the analytics.
  3. New tools. They should also pay attention to new tools coming to the market and use them to increase sales.
  4. Constant learning. Continuous learning is also very important for success, which can result from one's own competencies, customer relationships and information gained during the business.


Primož, the marketing, sales and HR expert and lecturer, pointed out three general things that we often do NOT see in startups:

  1. Startups should start selling right away and make a living from selling rather than raising funds.
  2. The founder, no matter how bad at communicating, must at least initially sell or be involved in it. This way he will get the most direct “hits”, he will be able to improve the product for the market and make faster progress.
  3. The sale is achieved when there's money in the account. Too often you feed and live off of "the enthusiasm of customers". If they are really that excited, they will buy the product. and pay the set price. Everything else is a sign that they are not as excited and that our product or the whole package is not so optimal.



4. How to maintain a good relationship with key customers?

Key customers are extremely important for the successful operation of your company. In the lectures, we got practical instructions on how you can pay even more attention to key customers and thus maintain a good relationship with them. Take a look at the tips in the picture.



5. What's important for a successful sales process?

Every company needs its own sales process to seek sales contacts, opportunities, organize meetings with customers and try to sell products or services to them. It is good to know that for a successful sales process, it is recommended that the company has/does the following:


Tools to facilitate the acquisition of customers (offers, presentations, objections, arguments ...)
When searching for new customers, it successfully uses the recommendations of existing customers.
Clear criteria and procedures for evaluating new contacts (sales leads).
A specific process for processing existing customers and a special different one for acquiring new customers.
Certain activities, goals and deadlines for each phase of the sales process.
Each sales representative has specific goals for each phase of the sales process.
Activities are always carried out on time, without delays.
Monitores the success and completion of an individual phase.
Monitores the condition of the sales funnel on a weekly basis.
A fixed day of the week to review the status of sales.
Dedicates more activities and a higher level of service to more profitable customers.
Measures sales and non-sales time.
Analyzes the sales performance of sales channels on a monthly basis.
Quarterly analyzes the cost-effectiveness of sales channels.
Enters all activities for each client (orders, meetings, calls, etc.).
A simple reporting system.
Makes a work plan for the next week (number of visits, activity plan, routes ...).



Getting valuable knowledge about sales with the help of the program

Nina Majcen, an entrepreneur from startup Nest Campers said the following about the program:

“I expected it to be another classic program, but I was wrong. We learned how to use a comprehensive approach to marketing, properly analyze data, learned how to effectively address customers, approach them and establish a relationship with them. The lecturers opened and closed a lot of questions for us. Our company has really gained valuable knowledge. "

Before participating in the program, the Tobiar team also faced various challenges, such as how to position itself in the market, how to properly address customers and expand abroad. With the help of the knowledge they gained in the program, they changed their business plan, learned how to approach customers and how to present their product in an interesting way and penetrate foreign markets. During the program, they also connected with a mentor with whom they have weekly meetings and guides them in their work. Primož is described as a mentor in the true sense of the word, as he guides, motivates and encourages them.


Watch the video below and find out their advice for other startups that have participated in the program:





Maja Rajterič from the startup company Tobiar and Tjaša Stakne and Nejc Stakne from the startup Dezziv speak in the video.


Get to know the other portfolio companies of the Slovene Enterprise Fund and the opportunities to join them and take advantage of the rich financial and content support of Startup Plus Programs.



Practical group workshops and tailored individual counseling

At the group workshops, the participants learned about getting to know the customers and the buying process, sales argumentation, reviewing the offer, the process of obtaining leads, the sales process, concluding and resolving customer complaints, as well as reviewing digital sales. The participants also had to fill out surveys and make an analysis of the current situation in the startup company, so that the mentors could adjust the individual counseling for each company.


What does Primož Hvala have to say about the program?


Sales Accelerator and other great Startup Plus programs

The Sales Accelerator 2021 program was available free of charge to all young companies that are recipients of start-up incentives P2, SK75 and SK200 or SI-SK of the Slovene Enterprise Fund and was created in order for participants to acquire skills to promote their sales. It consisted of two parts, namely two group workshops and free individual counseling.


Slovene Enterprise Fund also organizes many other top entrepreneurial programs for portfolio companies, such as the Push2start Acceleration Program, Startup Clinic, SK GROWTH CAMP, NextRound, GROWdigital, KorpoStart, INTL, HardwareSTART and ScaleUPgrade. The content programs effectively complement the financial products P2, SK75 and SI-SK, which provide Slovenian start-up companies with EUR 54,000 to EUR 600,000 in start-up funds.




READ MORE ABOUT StartupPlus programS








Content support for recipients of P2, SK75 or SI-SK financial products under the "de minimis" scheme is co-financed from the Slovene Enterprise Fund and the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund. This is implemented on the basis of the Content Support for Funds Recipients (SMEs) Programme in the 2018-2023 period, under the Operational Programme for the Implementation of the European Cohesion Policy 2014-2020.


Startup SEF MGRT Salesaccelerator Startupplusprogram
Izvedba: Mojdenar IT d.o.o.