For the first 10 customers, you try anything and everything that you can to get them. They are largely gained through referrals and word-of-mouth.
In this blog post, we will be focusing on setting up relevant steps in marketing, working on it, and making adjustments to product and positioning based on
the learning from customers to accelerate sales.
What are you selling?
“In the first 10 customer journey, you don’t even know what you are selling. You must fix that first.”
—Ashok Varma, ReportGarden
In the journey of the first 10 customers, the product will undergo numerous changes and everything will look like a moving part. This may also be a time when there can be potential pivot discussion based on the customer conversations that you will have.
Marketing is the art of persuading strangers to become fans. With the move from traditional to digital, the monopoly on PR and Ads has been overcome. It is no more about who has the biggest budget for marketing. Everyone who has
an authentic voice can create his brand.
The rise of social media marketing has meant that marketing is B2C now,
even for B2B businesses. The dynamics of SaaS dictates that marketing has to change to pull from push as it was in all previous paradigms.
Put in place a regular rhythm for content marketing and social media. You are doing both to get discovered, and by the right audience. Write for the persona created above but yet write about the Industry.
Content marketing is 40% generating content, 60% distributing it.
—Krish Subramanian, Chargebee
Look at this exercise as going to the gym—picking weights on day one is not going to pop muscle the next day. The process has to be repeated for at least six months for some results to trickle in.
First-time founders make few common mistakes. Either they fail to understand its importance and do not focus on marketing. Or they will not identify the few right channels and start posting on every medium like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. In which case, they will spread themselves too thin and end up wasting their time and not getting anywhere.
You might have a great story, but it can only do its magic and bring leads if it has a powerful distribution. There are various channels at your disposal that can be used to get the word out, but you don’t have the bandwidth or resources to leverage all of them at once.
The digital channels can prove to be an inexpensive distribution method if you have an audience that is actively looking for solutions you have to offer. A few popular ones are listed below. These distribution channels work differently
for different customer personas, for different products, so you need to understand what mix suits you best. Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares is a great read to understand various channels startups can use with startup success stories.
Setup for Sales Process
After about 10 and with multiple teams, for keeping track of the various touch points, a tool would most certainly be needed. Pipedrive and Hubspot are excellent tools to use to track the entire marketing and inside sales process.
Unlike self-service purchases, Catching (as the word implies) is essentially opening a dialogue or a conversation with a prospect who has signed up. This is done as a combination of live-chat sessions, email follow-up, and phone follow-ups.
The Catcher, after qualifying the signed up prospect, brings the Coach into the picture. The Coach is roughly equal to technical sales, pre-sales, demo team, etc. The job of the Coach is to make sure that the signup can achieve an “Initial Success” with the product. The success of this step leads to a strong usage pattern denoting “Activation.”
This is a significant people-involvement step. However, for mid-market SaaS, this step is required for improved sales conversions. This doesn’t stop you from continuing working on reducing the people touch point as you grow, but at early stages, this is something you have to plan for under doing-things-that-don’t-scale.
This is where the mature, seasoned sales person is required. Often, small deals can be closed by the Catcher, but medium to large ones require more time commitment and help that a Closer can bring to the team.
Inside Sales can be described as the process of catching, coaching, and closing.
—Suresh Sambandam, KiSSFLOW
(This blog post is a part of the Value SaaS Basecamp Guide, one of the best selling ebooks on Amazon authored by Thiyagarajan M, Prasanna Krishnamoorthy, and Abhishek Bajaj)