Danielle Lewis is a slashie. She’s the CEO & Co-Founder of influencer platform, Scrunch, she recently launched Sales & Wine, an online course aimed at teaching anyone how to sell, and she’s the face of SPARK, a startup program for female and regionally based entrepreneurs. She even launched a range of hand sanitiser during the height of the pandemic, to help her truly understand the pressures product based businesses face. We went BTS with Danielle to find out more about sales, PR and how the two work hand-in-hand.
You recently launched an online course targeted at teaching entrepreneurs how to sell. Why is this topic important?
As a business founder, and particularly a female founder I have a strong network of other founders. I have been in sales my whole life so it comes naturally to me, but I started to notice in my network that founders would avoid sales work and get stuck in developing their product and other busy work. In my opinion, sales is the most important work, because without customers you don’t have a business! In fact, whether we like it or not, we are always selling. Selling to potential customers, to our boss, to our employees… trying to convince the kids to eat their vegetables, being able to sell is actually a #1 life skill!
The real problem is most people have had a negative encounter with sales people. I believe that ‘selling like a human’ and putting providing value to your customers first is the best way to sell and to not feel icky in the process.
The course was created as a way to communicate this approach to selling and make it fun and accessible to any business owner or customer/sales focused employee. My top tip for anyone who’s looking to improve sales inside their business is to document and track everything. Just this process alone will highlight inefficiencies and what’s not working.
Do you think sales and PR share common traits? What can PRs learn from great sales people?
Absolutely! The purpose of PR is to get a brand’s message to a target customer. And while PR might not always measure direct sales conversions, the best PRs understand who their audience is, where they hang out and what value message to put in front of them. Sales is exactly the same. One of the first things a good salesperson does is understand who their target customer is and where to find them. Putting out a sales message or having sales conversations with the wrong people is a colossal waste of time and energy.
I think the biggest lesson PRs can learn from great sales people is their ability to listen and their persistence. Great salespeople are willing to have more conversations with potential customers than anyone else.. But they also listen, they have the ability to keep asking questions to really get to know their potential customer and how they can really deliver value to them. PRs can steal this insight by monitoring feedback on their campaigns and adjusting their approach each time. Start using customer’s language (or even better actual customers!) in communications for real authenticity.
How important is PR to your businesses? What are the main tools driving new customers?
PR is essential in all of our businesses as each one is focused on becoming a thought leader in its industry. Scrunch positions itself as being the expert on Influencer Marketing. Sales & Wine positions itself as being the expert on Sales. PR allows us to contribute to a broader industry conversation and add value to our customers without being too salesy! It’s our 2022 goal to put out more content than ever before, so monitoring relevant media and contributing as often as we can is a real focus.
You also started a physical product business during the pandemic, The Answer. Why did you decide to do something IRL?
As sales and marketing experts it’s really important to us that we get hands-on experience. THE ANSWER was an opportunity to create a physical product and sell via eCommerce and wholesale to broaden our depth of knowledge and understanding in this space. Being our own brand meant we had more freedom to experiment with strategies including pop up shops, Influencers, PR coverage and paid social to really get a rounded understanding of what’s currently working or not working for lifestyle brands. The biggest surprise is that there wasn’t a big surprise! Relationships were the biggest key factor in wholesale sales AND optimising metrics for anything digital marketing was paramount.
You launched The SPARK Founders Program in 2020 – why is it important to you to offer a program like this to female and regionally based entrepreneurs?
2020 was a period of great reflection for me (as it was for most people!). And as a female founder myself, I was trying to figure out how to make everything I had learnt about growing multiple businesses and sales strategies available to more amazing women. So the idea for SPARK was born as a way to create a community around female founders. Over the last 12 months some EPIC global brands have come on to provide even more education and ‘perks’ to these founders which just lights me up that we can make someone’s journey that little bit easier.
What are you most excited about for 2022?
I’m under no illusion that 2022 is going to be a roller coaster again, I think if I’ve learnt anything in business over the last decade is that you really never know what’s going to happen… you just gotta sip champagne, take a deep breath and come up with new strategies. The two things I am most excited about in 2022 is FOCUS in our product offerings, which means we can double down on the value we provide to our customers. AND our new WFAnywhere policy which means our team will be 100% remote globally. There have been so many discussions about the new way of working and global trends, but I think that in 2022 we are really here. We’re no longer theorising about what might happen, we need to be living new business models, new cultures and new ways of serving our customers.
What was the last thing you googled for work?
I am currently obsessed with NFTs! The SPARK Founder’s Program will be launching an epic range of NFTs in 2022 that will directly contribute to the support of female, regional and indigenous founders in real life and I am absolutely astounded how we can use technology to create a global community and movement.