Don’t worry! Taking any new product to market is hard, even when established. At the start, a targeted approach with an “entrepreneurial spirit” will be needed to win early adopters. This tends to happen naturally; founders talk to people they know have a problem and who think a bit like they do.
To scale, you need to work out how to create and maintain a “growth engine”. This requires the founding team to scale, or clone themselves – something that isn’t easy! To secure investment and deliver the returns expected, you need to show that selling is simply a function of scaling your early stage success.
For investors, it’s all about scalability and rapid return. To demonstrate success, they expect to see that the money invested will be used across people and processes to deliver a predicable growth curve, with good margins.
But how do you get suspects into a CRM that have a good chance of becoming prospects and then customers?
The answer is systematically market and sell to your target audience – that means building a funnel of opportunity.
Start by focusing on markets where you can dominate.
- Use your own data. Use win/loss analysis to understand where and why you won customers:
- Why did they buy anything,
- Why did they buy from us (and not someone else, or do nothing?)
- Why did they buy now?
- People buy because they need to solve a problem, so develop propositions to explain how you will solve their problem(s)
- Work out how many suspects need to visit your website to fill the funnel?
- Generate demand, nurture possible buyers and deliver MQLs
- Convert MQLs to SALs, turn suspects to prospects and win new customers (and then keep customers)
Calculating the coverage model
Working backwards, from the number of customers you need to win, to set the targets for the number of suspects (Marketing Qualified Leads – MQLs) you need marketing to create for sales:
When you know how many suspects you need to be talking to, apply a 5% conversion rate from “inquiries” to MQL. This cascade model shows the typical ratios for a B2B solution sale:
Building a marketing team
It’s a common misconception that to build a strong funnel you need to recruit domain experts. Whilst this helps, ask yourself these questions
Q1: What happens when we have exploited all our known connections?
Q2: Have I got people in my team who have proven success in building a pipeline at the stage my business is at now?
What is critical is that you have a systematic approach to regularly communicate with your target audience
1. Look at the world from your buyer’s point of view.
Over the last 5 years the world has changed. Most purchasers do a large proportion of their research on-line before ever engaging with a potential supplier. Businesses need to engage with purchasers early using digital marketing channels. Make sure you have a robust digital marketing plan to help your target audience find your website online. There are agencies expert in SEO (search engine optimisation) and how to optimise social channels to reach potential customers.
2. Blended marketing is still the best formula. Ignore digital marketing at your peril but it’s not a ‘silver bullet’.
As far as the marketing budget can stretch try and nurture press relations, attend industry events, be included in industry publications i.e. journals and partner with complimentary organisations to ‘piggy back’ of their activity.
3. Your website will be used by buyers;
Markets differ in terms of how much buyer research is done. Some rely solely on the internet, some don’t. At some point, a potential customer will use your website as their reference point.
How your website performs to attract and acquire contacts; how you nurture their interest until they’re ready to buy and how well you are able to meet their needs when they are buying is the holy grail to revenue success.
Make sure there are regular compelling digital campaigns to encourage suspects to leave their contact details.
That way you can track their level of interest and move them from a marketing qualified lead to a sales qualified lead.
Metrics are important to help keep you on the straight and narrow but without a systematic approach and high level of activity, it will be a challenge to fill the funnel. Without a funnel of opportunity, the domino effect will be poor forecasting and poor revenue performance.
Learn more about how Trinamo can help you reach your sales and marketing goals, check out our free marketing and sales growth consultation.