Research the survival rate for any startup and the stats paint a pretty grim picture – within five years, nearly half of businesses don’t make it. It’s a sobering statistic, to be sure, but it makes it seem as though starting a B2B company is essentially a coin toss… that’s not the case. Sure, luck might have a little to do with a startup’s success, but there are concrete choices, concrete steps you can take to actively improve your chances.

You need to project a clear message, prove your worth to potential customers, market yourself across a number of platforms, and – very importantly – grow your sales staff properly. Let’s dig a little deeper into those four tips:

Hire The Right Salespeople

When you’re just starting out, perhaps it will only be you that is making the sales. That’s understandable, given the limited pool of resources available, but a sales staff of one is not sustainable for very long, especially if you are starting to see some success. The problem here is that you don’t want to hire too many people too quickly. You want to be methodical about it, lest you upset the delicate balance you’ve created and wind up with a bunch of hires that don’t fit your company.

Do it right the first time. Hire your salespeople through a sales recruitment agency, like who can draw from a wide pool of candidates, and assess them according to a variety of relevant criteria. It will save you time, money, and, most importantly, it will set you up for success down the line.

Have A Clear Value Proposition

What makes your company unique? What makes your products or services unique? Answering that question is as tricky as it is imperative. You have to start by identifying a problem on the customers’ end, some business issue that you can solve. Then you have to articulate how and why you are in a unique position to solve that problem. To bolster this claim, you need to provide real-world proof of your ability to solve that problem, whether through performance metrics, current customers or awards. You identify a problem; you position yourself as the most viable solution. It’s simple, but it takes some though and consideration.

Market Yourself

According to Hinge Marketing, 60% of buyers find new service providers over social media, and social-media-based interactions can be a driving factor in referrals as well. Choose social media platforms that best suit your business, and use them to network with industry influencers as well as reinforce your brand.

It’s also difficult to overstate the importance of a good website, one that delivers a concise brand message in line with your value proposition. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is your goal here – that is, increasing the percentage of visitors to your website who convert into customers or leads. This is achievable by understanding your audience and targeting them, as well as incorporating your customers’ feedback about the site into further improvements.

Following these three key tips, you should be able to get your B2B started on the right foot. The odds may not look great at the outset, but with some savvy decision-making and the right sales staff, success will start to look more and more inevitable.