I recently met a Nepalese tech-startup founder who wanted to sell his Customer Relation Management (CRM) system to local businesses operating in Nepal. However, just like almost every other tech-startup founder who came before him, his forte as he mentioned was developing products, and selling them felt like a completely different thing to master.
To fill this knowledge gap, this article discusses how a sales pipeline, as well as a sales strategy, can be made to successfully sell a product/service to local Nepalese businesses.
Understanding The Business Market Of Nepal
If you are trying to sell your product or service to businesses in Nepal, it should be common knowledge that only a few local businesses have adopted digital practices while the rest are still operating as brick-and-mortar shops.
Hence, writing a cold email to your potential buyer might not really work here because most Nepalese business owners do not even have an official business email in the first place. Instead, calling your potential buyers directly may be the best possible way to introduce your product or service to them.
Here are some other characteristics of the Nepalese business market that you should understand before learning how to sell to your target market:
- Most Nepalese businesses do not have a website but they do have their address marked on web mapping platforms like Google Maps.
- Most Nepalese business owners do not have a LinkedIn account but the ones who do are people who often run their businesses as managers rather than operators. You can access these high-quality sales prospects with comparatively less effort.
- Most Nepalese businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises. The time taken to make a sale should therefore be low since transaction volume per enterprise will be small.
- Most Nepalese businesses are not listed on online directories but there are offline directories holding multiple pages of contact information. Attending annual seminars of various industries will help you collect these online directories.
Based on the market characteristics, following an offline approach to sales makes the most sense for most entrepreneurs when selling to other Nepalese businesses. However, there are definitely proven ways to infuse online strategies into your sales methodology, especially if your target market is a niche market.
Now that you have somewhat of a clear picture of the market you’re trying to sell into, let us discuss how you can build a process/template for standardizing your way of selling across the Nepalese business market.
Creating a Sales Pipeline To Sell Your Product Or Service In Nepal
A sales pipeline is the mapped-out representation of the various stages of your sales process which lets you estimate how much revenue is advancing in your business and when. It acts as a tracker for your entire sales process and helps your team stay on track to hit sales targets for any given financial year.
If you dig deeper, a sales pipeline does so by doing the following:
- It creates a properly defined sales process.
- It estimates the time required for each stage of the sales process.
- It helps set a standardized way of communication with salespeople who follow the sales process in your business.
- It measures your achievements at each stage of the sales process.
The good thing is that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel and create a sales pipeline from scratch. You can simply adopt a proven sales pipeline in your business and tweak it according to your needs.
Here is my personal favorite 5-stage sales pipeline that you can adopt for your business as well to sell to other businesses in Nepal:
The stages in the sales pipeline, when tailored for selling to Nepalese businesses, are as follows:
Stage 1: Sales Prospecting
The first stage in most sales pipelines is sales prospecting.
A sales prospect is a business that fits your ideal customer profile, that is, a business whom you think will most likely might buy your product or service. Sales prospecting is the act of reaching out to these sales prospects in hopes of them being your possible customers.
In the west, a common practice for sales prospecting is to buy business email lists on the web which contain the contact information of several businesses. As a way of prospecting, they send emails to businesses that fit their ideal customer profile and in turn, gauge their level of interest through their reply.
However, as mentioned earlier in ‘Understanding The Business Market Of Nepal‘ section, most Nepalese businesses do not have an official business email. Thus, in Nepal, the most common way to discover prospects along with their contact information (mostly, phone numbers) is through physical business directories, google searches and online social media groups. Once you have a list of phone numbers, you can call these businesses individually and gauge whether they are interested in your product or service.
Stage 2: Sales Lead Qualification
Not everyone who you prospect to is going to be interested in what you have to sell. You have to, therefore, qualify them as a sales lead.
A sales lead is a business that expresses an interest in your product or service.
The easiest way to qualify a prospect as a lead in the sales pipeline is to use qualifying questions such as the following:
- What does your budget look like for this project?
- Are you using any existing competing products and are looking to switch? What are their issues?
- Would it be alright if I followed up with you tomorrow?, etc.
Asking the right questions to a sales prospect will help you understand if they are interested in your offering or not.
Also, in case a prospect is not interested in your product or service, it is not recommended that you do not try pushing a sale with them. Instead, you can ask for their permission to follow up in three or six months’ time. Doing so keeps a good relationship with the prospect for future sales.
Stage 3: Sales Opportunity Qualification
In most sales pipelines, not all sales leads will convert into paying clients. There are several reasons for this:
- There may be a lack of budget with the lead.
- The solution offered by your product or service may not be urgently required.
- The solution you offer may not be much different from a competing product or service, etc.
A sales lead is marked as a sales opportunity if they have a high probability of becoming a paying customer. In Nepal, a sales opportunity is mostly discovered through in-person meetings as well as phone calls. So, be prepared to make that trip down to their office if needed.
Stage 4: Closing The Deal
If you’ve discovered a sales opportunity, you need to bring your A-list salesperson to close the deal.
Closing a deal is the art of getting a sales opportunity to accept the terms of a product or service agreement through a signed written contract. Once you’ve closed the deal with a sales opportunity, they are now your client/customer.
Therefore, sales closing is a specialization that once when mastered, will help you bring massive amounts of revenue to your business. Sadly, even the most prominent deals are fizzled out at this stage of the pipeline due to a lack of training and experience in sales closing.
By the way, do remember that even if you have closed a deal with a client in Nepal, you would most likely only get paid after a certain time period has passed in your engagement. Failing to realize this may set your business back in terms of cash flow in the initial months of executing your sales pipeline.
Stage 5: Client Success Management
Closing a client is not enough. You have to ensure their success such that the client remains happy during and after their duration of engagement with your product or service.
Although client success management is mostly treated as a post-sales process and most people do not like to add it to their sales pipeline, I personally find it necessary. The reason is that this makes the end of one sales pipeline connect itself with the start of another ensuring that the client’s social and monetary value is extracted as much as positively possible.
Remember that you have an easier time up-selling and cross-selling your products or services to clients who’ve already made a purchase from you. So, ensuring that their success is met as part of the sales pipeline will help you drop down the cost required to acquire a client (better known as, customer acquisition cost) and in turn, will help you compound your business.
Following the above 5-stage sales pipeline, you can efficiently track your sales process, train new team members and keep your business growing with an adequate discovery of sales opportunities at a good rate.
Real-life Sales Pipeline Example – A Weekend Travel Plan
Consider that today is Monday and you want to plan a trip for the weekend with your friends. Here is what the 5-stage sales pipeline looks like for this example:
Stage 1: Sales Prospecting
Although your phone may contain the contact information of over 100+ people, you may only have 6 contacts who you would most likely make weekend travel plans with. These six contacts fit your ideal ‘friend’ profile and thus, are your prospects for a weekend trip.
Here, prospecting them involves you calling them one by one and asking if they would like to go on a trip for the weekend. It is that simple of a process.
Stage 2: Sales Lead Qualification
After you prospect your traveling plans to six of your friends, two of them may outright turn you down due to other priorities. The remaining four may tell you that their interested and will let you know in a day or two. Only these four remaining are your leads.
Stage 3: Sales Opportunity Qualification
Even if four of your friends are interested, two of them might not have the budget to travel with you and one of them might be coming down with a fever. Hence, the remaining one is your final opportunity at creating travel plans.
Stage 4: Closing The Deal
If you’ve convinced the remaining one friend to buy a plane ticket with you, you have closed the deal with them.
Stage 5: Client Success Management
To make sure that your friend will be happy throughout and after the trip with you, you will try your best to be a good friend throughout the trip. In doing that, you are managing the success of a fun trip.
Sales Pipelines And Sales Funnels Are Different, Yet Kind Of The Same
Most founders often get their terminologies mixed up between a sales pipeline and a sales funnel. Why do they have to sound so different yet so similar?
The major difference between the two is that a sales pipeline when visualized is a pipeline that shows different stages of a business deal whereas a sales funnel when visualized is a funnel that shows how many people complete different stages of those deals.
If you see the visualized comparison side-by-side, it becomes easier to differentiate between a sales pipeline and a sales funnel.
8 Factors That Make Up A Unique And Great Sales Strategy
A sales strategy in its rawest form is a plan for positioning and selling your product or service to turn your sales prospect into actual clients as they progress through the sales pipeline.
There are several unique factors that you can introduce in your sales strategy to sell what you’re trying to sell gets sold:
1. Create a Unique Value Proposition Outside Your Product Or Service
Provide a unique value proposition that your competitor doesn’t offer outside of the actual product or service. This may be as simple as inviting the client to a vibrant community online as part of the product’s/service’s user group or as complex as running a ten people 24/7 customer support team.
In Nepal, forming a good community of users is enough for you to differentiate and increase the adoption of your products since other businesses are not doing that.
2. Bring Urgency In Buying By Demonstrating Urgency Of Change
Allowing customers to get the best payment deal possible just because they can be part of the first 10 clients of the company will help you land an easy sale. However, showing the demerits of being the last 10 clients to use the product/service also has a similar effect, especially in mature markets.
For example, the class-A Nepalese banks that are just now adopting internet banking technology are having a hard time differentiating themselves from their customers since they are now part of the last 10 clients in the market. If they were shown the demerits of being left out 5 years back, they would have made the purchase of internet banking technology a long time ago.
3. Shorten The Decision Making Process
Save your potential customer the time needed to go through the long decision-making route by sharing plain facts which might evoke a strong emotion against your natural competition.
For example, if you’re selling a rice cooker, speak of how much your last customer saved on the cost of gas in a year’s time. Similarly, if you’re selling an electric vehicle, speak of how many kilometers the vehicle can go for the same cost compared to a petrol/diesel fuel-based vehicle.
4. Act As A Trusted Advisor
Help your potential customer make the right decision even if that decision is not in your favor.
If the decision to buy your product is not a good idea for them, tell them so. This builds up trust and the next time you come up with a better offer, they are more likely to buy your product or service.
5. Routinely Look Outside Your Ideal Customer Profile
Do not rely heavily on ideal customer profiles while scouting prospects and qualifying opportunities. In some cases, a potential customer’s profile may fail to be an ideal fit but still turn out to be a great future customer segment. Keep your eyes open since the market’s needs are changing rapidly nowadays.
6. Build Social Proof
Nepalese businesses have an easier time buying something if someone else who looks like them or acts like them has already bought it.
In order to gather social proof, you might want to provide an extended free trial of your product to onboard high-profile customers in your marketing programs. Similarly, if you are selling a service, you can work with a client free of cost and build a case study of results to demonstrate your competency as a service provider.
For example, if you are selling your product or service to 100 different secondary-level schools, bringing 5 secondary-level schools onto your portfolio free of charge will be your greatest asset for making a sale down the line.
7. Align Sales And Marketing
We’ve already discussed how you can find new sales prospects through search engines or through physical business directories in case your target market is not on the web.
However, if businesses within your ideal customer profile are already on the internet, you can use both organic as well as paid marketing tools to gather inbound/outbound leads for your business.
In reality, both marketers and salespeople are trying to persuade buyers on choosing their product so aligning the two disciplines shouldn’t be too hard.
8. Create Tutorials On How To Use Your Product / Teach Your Service
Nepalese businesses find it a lot easier to make a purchase if there are tutorials on how to use your product online. These online tutorials serve an important purpose: it shows the potential customer the actual demo of the product while also making them habituated with the product’s look and feel. There’s the educational aspect as well.
Similarly, if you are teaching people how to perform the service that you do, you are building your status as an expert in your industry. Understanding that high-ticket projects are rewarded to those businesses that people can trust with their money as well as skills.
In this article, we’ve covered almost everything you need to know in order to start successfully selling your service/product to Nepalese businesses. If you have any questions regarding the above-shared information, please write to us in the comments.