You know, there is an old saying in business: “Nothing happens until somebody sells something”.
You are a start-up. You may already have developed a great product but however good it is – somebody has to start selling it. The great mistake many budding entrepreneurs make is to spend their full time developing a great product and do nothing or very little about sales. Until “somebody sells something” nothing is going to happen.
"Nothing happens until somebody sells something"
Building customer traction is crucial to your business and here is how to navigate it:
Start With The Basics
During the business planning phase, do not fall completely in love with your idea and trust your customer profiling, which could be subjective . Go and visit your plan again. Try to be objective. Put your self in the shoes of the cautious buyer. Ask the following questions:
Who is my target audience?
What will motivate them to buy my product or service?
Most importantly – what is my USP (Unique Selling Proposition)?
What is the competition and how can my product or service differentiate?
How can I optimise my marketing and PR efforts?
Who is going to do the selling and how good are they?
What should be my sales and revenue targets and how can they be achieved?
Love The Numbers
Tracking is crucial to building your customer traction. You have to establish a strong relationship with quantitative measures. As well as collecting testimonials, you need to collect numbers. For example, performance indicators such as number of registered users, number of paying users, number of visitors etc. Products or services require very specific key performance indicators to measure your progress. You need to live with these performance indicators 24/7 so you know exactly what is going on.
Track And Track And Keep Tracking
We all know the saying “what you measure you can manage”; I’d like to add to it “and what you can manage you can improve”. You can track the current engagement level with your product and services and set specific goals to increase it and the same for revenue growth.
Use Industry Specific Measures
There are general financial terms that all business should use, such as profitability, gross margins, ROI. However, there are industry specific measures and you have to learn their definition and how to use them. For example, if you use an eCommerce platform use ‘average return visits per customer.'; if you sell products online, track conversion rate; or if you are B2B, measure average contract size and so on.
My Best Advice
I have noticed while mentoring several Tech startups that entrepreneurs spent the major part of time and effort on building their great product or service, and get hit with all the marketing challenges once they decide to launch the product. What is lacking is that they do not spend enough time structuring their marketing efforts and rely on random tactics and trial-and-error.
There are a lot of wonderful new ideas out there but great ideas are not enough. Once a product or service is developed you need very effective implementation – and implementation means sales. The ultimate success objective – revenue and profit – entirely depends on that.