Building the product is not the hardest part. The hardest part is generating the sales. What strategy does a startup need to follow to get their first 100 customers?
Marketing strategy! During the build of the product you should have been testing how it solves pain points for customers. This would help with clear brand and value alignment. As for acquisition, from the value alignment stage you should have a clear understanding of who your clients are, from their its clear messaging and targeting.
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The answer to your question is not one-strategy-fits-all because startups focus on different things. Closing your first 100 customers - why 100? Are you following a formula? The strategy will be the same throughout the sales process, but the most effective strategy will depend on what you are selling. Is your product consumer-facing? Is it SaaS, etc? Having that modicum of information will define your sales model. I have built 3 successful sales teams and I have been number 1 in national (entered the list at number 5) and regional sales. I can assess your sales model and provide a strategy in our first call. From there you can implement or we can work together.
Hello I am Priyanka.
1) Reach Out to Your Network
A quick way to do some customer development is to reach out to your existing network and ask them specific questions about your product and market. If you’re creating a product for a specific niche, then chances are you know people who are in that niche already.
You can also run through your existing LinkedIn contacts, find people who are in your industry, and send them an e-mail like this one:
Ways to Acquire Your First 100 Customers
You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help.
One of the biggest reasons new businesses fail is that founders don’t talk to customers. It’s easy to believe that you already know everything about your target market and convince yourself that they definitely need your product. But the best marketers are humble enough to talk to their market and validate their hypotheses, even if they know they’re correct.
For example, Hiten Shah did many hours of customer interviews for a project he was working on around helping startups raise money. As a prominent entrepreneur in Silicon Valley who has raised money from some of the biggest venture capitalists, he’s already talked to hundreds of people who have asked him for advice on the topic.
But he still did customer interviews.
Though you don’t want to sell anything during your interviews, you can ask the people you talk to whether they would like to be added to a private e-mail list where you send out updates every now and then on the progress of your venture.
Down the road, they could turn into your first customers.
Additionally, take one step outside of your network, and step into the individual networks of your prospects. Make sure to ask the people you reach out to for introductions to others who might have an interest in what you are offering. Even if someone might not be a good fit for your product, there’s a good chance they will have a colleague who is.
4) Customer Development Tools
Most marketers know that tools like Qualaroo and SurveyMonkey can help you understand your audience better. But did you know that they can also help you generate more leads and customers?
If you already know what your ideal customer profile looks like, then all you need to generate more leads is to create a survey that qualifies your prospects. For example, GoodBlogs used Qualaroo to boost registrations by 300% for one of their clients.
. Start Blogging to Increase Visibility, Traffic, and Demand for Your Product
A. Driving traffic to your website
Companies with active blogs tend to have 97% more inbound links than those that don’t publish content.
By optimizing your content for a few relevant keywords, you can improve your website’s SEO and rank higher in search results – which means more visibility, more website visits, and more potential customers discovering your brand.
B. Generating interest, need, and demand
Blogging creates awareness for your brand and product or service.
Awareness feeds interest, which can fuel need and demand.
Created branded content allows you to tell the story of your product.
C. Building relationships with potential customers.
Unlike traditional ads, which can scare off potential customers who aren’t ready to buy, blog content provides customers with information about the industry, brand, and product before they make a purchase.
Blogging creates an opportunity to create cater your information to people at different stages of the sales funnel.
D. Strengthening your brand and online presence
Build a stronger brand reputation by publishing informative content that demonstrates thought leadership in your industry.
Boosting credibility is not only important for improving search results, it fosters trust among customers – which can lead to more conversions and sales.
Blogging tips when you’re just getting started:
Aim for quality over quantity. Google prefers blogs that publish consistently high-value content over sporadic content dumps of mediocre articles.
Optimize for long-tail keywords. Trying to rank for general keywords like “SaaS tools” is a lot harder than ranking for something specific like “affordable SaaS tools for startups.”
Track the metrics that matter most. Measure how well your content is performing with metrics like time on page, shares, views, and conversions.
Set reasonable expectations. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to publish new content every single day. Start with once a week and increase to two or three if you have the resources to do so.
For further queries you can consult me.
The organic approach is usually best and is more sustainable.
1. Build Your Narrative - which you convert into a sales funnel. a. what is your overall 'story' of how and what you address emotionally, functionally.
2. Build your target audience and engage with them in ways that they find easy to start with. e.g. free education, etc.
... Or you can try the fast approach and spend $10,000 per month on ad campaigns. :-)
You should offer free analysis report or free trial. You can also offer better pricing and use google adwords and run ads for your competitor keywords. For example their brand name keywords. You can even create landing pages showing the differences between your tool and competitor's tool. If you can share more details about tool, I can give you better inputs.
This answer would look different, if the question would have been
“how to acquire the first 1000 customers?”.
100 people is such a small group. Please trust me: do it in person!
You will learn so much! And know much more about 3 amazingly valuable topics for any founder:
B) YOUR PRODUCT
C) YOUR ACTUAL CLIENTS
As soon as you THINK you have a product ready for clients:
1. Write your story. Express your purpose. Then define your target audience (TA).
2. Tell the story to 100 people. Not all of them need to be potential customers (TA), but most of them should be.
3. Pay attention to the discrepancies between what you thought people would react like, and what they actually reacted like. Be honest and objective towards yourself and your business.
4. Redefine your target audience, after you have learned HOW BIASED you really were.
5. After talking to 1-200 people, periodically updating your approach each time after talking to 20-30 people, you can schedule a call and we can set up communication strategies, to automate and modularize what you have learned.
Let me know how did go!
Best regards, Christopher
Identify your ideal customer persona. Find those individuals. Conduct market research with those individuals in exchange for a free trial / sample of the product. Understand what motivates them and their pain points. Follow up with an under 3 minute, anonymous, survey after they've used the product.
I suggest promoting your services on Linkedin. Your results should be consistent, easy to measure and scalable. You could pay Linkedin for advertising but there are more effective and less expensive ways to do it yourself. In most cases a premium account isn't even necessary. Here are some easy to follow steps..
1. Identify your target market. What industries, titles, locations and keywords do your "lowest hanging fruit" share?
2. Send invites to as many of these people as possible. 20% of them will accept the invite. Now you can message them via Inmail for free and they can see any status update you post.
3. Curate some interesting content and use tools like Hootsuite or Socialpilot.co to automate your posts. This will keep you top-of-mind with your target audience. You can even use services like Snip.ly to add banner overlays across the content you post.
4. Create short messages and send them to the first level connections that match your "lowest hanging fruit" criteria. Never blast them with info. Instead send a short message like this... Hi Joe. Great connecting with you. I wanted to contact you because my services should be of interest to you. Would it be ok if I sent you more details about what we do?
5. Anyone who responds back send them another short message that encapsulates what you do into 2 paragraphs max. Be sure to include why your service should be of benefit to them. Make sure you end the message with a sentence like this... Joe, would you like to set up a time when we can speak about the possibility of working together? You want them to say either yes or no. No answers are fine. They save you time and let you find the cream of the crop (people who have an interest now and are willing to speak with you).
6. Be sure to keep up your daily postings and follow up every week or every other week with the people who responded.
For every 1,000 messages that you send out you will generate 30-40 really good leads. Most of my clients close 1-3 deals for every 30 leads. Depending on your sales cycle it might take a few weeks or months to get your first deal but follow up and persistence is the key on Linkedin.
I hope this helps.
There is a lot of ways to attack this goal. Strategies here would also vary based on your available resources.
I would read these two books to dive into first:
1. The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes (https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Sales-Machine-Turbocharge-Relentless/dp/1591842158)
2. DotCom Secrets by Russell Brunson (https://dotcomsecrets.com/)
With these two books, it will give you a solid foundation and the proper philosophies to attack that first 100 customer goal.
My biggest takeaways to give you a quick recap:
*Know who that dream customer (Avatar, rich persona profiles)
*Locate where they play and hangout
*Build a database of the top 100-300 dream customers which will be your new "Dream 100"
*Create a plan of action to personally reach out to them with a multi-touch campaign that brings them a lot of value and plants the seed of who you are.
Chet Holmes approach is stellar and his business practices are truly timeless. Russel Brunson has a more modern take on many of the same principles which are refreshing.
Happy to help map out what your dream 100 looks like as I have done this for many customers over the years. Best of luck!
If your product is B2B I highly suggest creating a targeted outbound campaign. You can do it all on a super cheap budget too. You can setup a G Suite/Gmail account for $5 a month and use a tool like Mailshake for under $20 a month and you have a few different options for getting data/emails! Tell me more about your product and Ill jump on a free call to give you some more strategy/direction.
Talk to the community/tribe that needs you to solve that problem.
Talk to as many people as possible, listen and build for them.