Startup need to grow fast if they want to create their place in this today’s cut throat competition, however they also need to avoid classic inexperienced sales mistakes if they want to generate revenue and build a trusted relationship with their early adopters. When you are a startup, your first 1k followers and 1k customers represents your core community on which you will build on top. If you cannot attract those first thousands followers and retain them, your business won’t grow and won’t generate any revenue.
To perfect the art of early stage development you need to avoid the following 7 deadly mistakes many startup commit.
- Not knowing your Buyer Persona
Your business has to to target a very specific audience. Many startup want to sell to the world at their first year of development. First define which niche your solution fit the most. More precise and define your targeted audience is, more effective will be your marketing/sale strategy. Start by being a reference in your own niche and then you will expand around. It’s what all successful tech companies have done, why it should be different for you?
To define your buyer persona ask yourself the following questions about your dream customers:
- How old are they?
- In which industry are they working?
- Which position your targeted contact occupy?
- What are their main challenges?
- What are their main goals?
- Who are their customers?
Then try to precise the scope by asking specific questions in relation to your industry.
- Not Selling
Most startups pitch all features of their product/service and show as much as they can the innovativeness behind their solution. WAIT! Nobody care about how your product work! What is important is to sell the core solution of your customer’s problem. If there is no needs, there is no sales and no product. For that you need to know what are customer’s pain point. For that, you only have to ask relevant questions! Then provide your customers or influencers the 2 main benefits your product would provide them if they adopt it.
- Not showing up
Startups need to go outside of the garage and show what is their business, what is their technology and how amazing is their team. Most importantly they need to meet their customers to connect directly with their early adopters to develop a trusted relationship and gain feedback about their solution.
- No sales methodology
Start invest most of their time in design and product development instead of filing at the early stage the sales funnel. Even if your product is not perfect or finished you should start proposing it and selling it. Indeed how can you gain feedback and improve your solution if you do not propose it?
Sell at the earliest stage to understand your market, observe how your targeted audience react and improve your product/service.
- Not enough follow up
Showing up is not enough, you need to follow up your dream customers and early investors. Do not give up if your 500 emails do not provide any leads or sales. You need to follow up at least 3 times before considering a lead as dead.
- Bad data quality
Startups work most of the time with a very low budget and prefer to invest most of it into UI/UX or software development. However generating accurate data is as well crucial for a company to understand who is interested in their product and to optimize the pre-selling step. Indeed knowing who visit your website is a key to build your buyer persona and improving your sales/marketing strategy. For that, very easy you only need to use Google analytics. Building the pre-sell database is also a secret tip to succeed in your early adopter sales campaigns. Indeed nobody wants to send 500 emails and have 90% fake email addresses. For that, super easy you only need a sales prospecting software. The best one on the market right now is salestools.io as it extract up to 80% verified email addresses on social media websites.
- Not having the right price
Many startups think cheap is beautiful. However having a freemium model can be a very dangerous strategy as customer might not trust your service. If you are in B2C freemium might work but for B2B, “free” is very synonym to “unprofessional”. Your service/product is great and offer a true solution to your customers, so do not hesitate to ask for a fair price. Propose 3 different plan and a custom one. People wants to be able to choose what they want in your package.
Now you know it! Don’t fall is those classic traps and build the most successful business ever.