The B2B startup domain has slowly emerged into one of the hottest and fastest growing areas attracting expert talent funding.
Barriers to entry have fallen with light touch interfacing and sticky product features through web and mobile apps, as well as APIs. Deal flow opportunities are tremendous: Think scoring 50 fold+ in revenue over long term contracts with large clients, as opposed to one-night-stands with consumer who can flake out at any given time.
Exciting times, to be sure — but investing time, capital, and resources to align the ideal go-to-market strategy can easily burn out the most ambitious and experienced.
For those that are just starting out, here are a few ground business, marketing, and personal rules for building the foundation of a highly scalable business-to-business startup:
1. Don’t compete, just win
Execution trumps ideas every time.
Once you get past your ‘friends and family’ circle of prospects, no one will care about or your offering unless you push. You’re going to need tons of positive and assertive take-no-prisoners-style energy, while still being likable and a fun person for the other side to talk to.
When you get tired or frustrated, always push for one more call. It will give you a boost to perform and deliver above average more consistently.
2. Forget about 100% reliance on inside sales
It’s for the rich and well experienced, not for you.
You don’t have enough time or money to buy $10Ks in media, convert, and measure and expect to be successful from day one. Invest your time building a pipeline of prospects - through your network and straight cold calling like crazy. Find the processes that work and the customers that find value in your offering and pay. Constantly adapt your site messaging and selling methodologies based on paying customer feedback.
You’ll still need to buy media, but keep the budget low and consider it strictly for branding to build awareness, not direct revenue.
3. Get attention fast
You can’t do it alone on the phone.
Reach out to media outlets that speak to your target market right off the bat — don’t wait for your product to be perfect. Instead, focus on bringing one to three killer beta customers that can vouch for your offering. Highly visible beta users or customers will always speak better than you can about your company and are instantly recognizable by your prospective customers.
4. Hustle big
Remember David and Goliath? It’s scary reaching out to people for the first time and selling… even scarier when approaching larger companies.
But the important thing is that a few heavyweight names in your category will validate your market and the strategy you’re implementing to engage them. More than likely, it will take just as much time to bring on board as a smaller prospect … so why shoot small?
Shoot big, welcome them as partners, and promote your relationship as much as possible.
5. Eat and train well
Workout in the morning – at least four work days a week. By working out, you’ll find some type of physically stimulated activity that you’ll get addicted to doing every morning. You’ll come to the office ready to kick ass and will have more energy to continuously perform all day — believe it.
It’s a long road that will be challenging and confusing, but it will pay off.
When in doubt – focus strictly on execution!
Cameron Peron is VP Marketing and Chief Customer Advocate at Newvem, a web-based cloud usage analytics service that enables CIOs, CTOs, IT managers, Developers and Operators to capture and improve the effectiveness of their public cloud operations and ensure their cloud infrastructure is in sync with business performance so they are financial efficient and contribute to a company’s profits. Follow him at @cameronperon.