Ernest Hemingway once said that the scariest thing in the world is “a blank page”. Starting anything from scratch, is a challenge and this is especially true when we look at sales and marketing and trying to find the right B2B Sales Strategy for startups. If you are selling innovative tech in a new market, no one can tell you exactly how to sell. What you need is a methodology that helps you to find the right sales approach and market fit.
What Message Are You Sending?
Know Your Buyer
When you think about a b2b sales strategy for startups you need to start here. You can’t just show off tech to companies and say, “look isn’t this cool, how do you think you could use it”. Instead, you need to prospect with a message of “you have this problem, I can help you fix it”. Your marketing and prospecting all needs to be focused on the customer and their problems.
Use Marketing to Test Everything before investing
Once you think you know who you are selling to and what problem you solve, you need to test those assumptions. This is the methodology I mention above and it’s critical to building a B2B sales strategy for startups. Write down your list of hypotheses and build test campaigns to test them out to see if you’re right. You might need to go through this phase a few times, but that’s great. Each time you find out you’re wrong, you save yourself a lot of time, money and frustration. Once you have hypotheses that you’ve validated, then it’s time to go to the next step.
Scale up Sales with Outbound First while building infrastructure for inbound
Inbound leads are of the highest quality because they contacted YOU asking for help, so you’re in the position of the expert. However, it takes a lot of time to build a fully functioning inbound sales funnel. HubSpot says to expect 6-9 months to build an inbound effort that works for you. You can’t afford to just sit and wait 9 months! So you need to launch your inbound marketing effort now, so it can fill your pipe in 6 months and you need to launch an outbound effort to fill your sales pipeline now.
The outbound campaigns that are the most effective are those that leverage content and use outbound (email or LinkedIn) to share that content with people who match the persona of your target buyer.
4. You are your best Salesperson and will be for some time.
As the founder of a startup, it can be tempting to think “I will hire some top gun salesperson and let him/her sell”. I’ve seen companies do that, and it doesn’t work. You are still learning how to sell your product or service and as a founder, you will be able to sell when others can’t.
This is because you know your offer the best, you are using the hypotheses/test method in every meeting to refine the pitch, and because you’re personally invested in your startup in a way that no new salesperson can be.
The truth is that it takes time to find the right b2b startup marketing strategy. You need to approach it with a methodology and mindset of testing ideas to find the right fit.