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Sales and Marketing Basics for Startups


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Harlan T. Beverly explains how Sales and Marketing should be done for Startups. The lean start-up method is assumed; including the Minimum Viable Product, and a new idea: The Minimum Viable Marketing.

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Sales and Marketing Basics for Startups

  1. 1. By Harlan Tytus Beverly Rev. 0.2 7/2/12
  2. 2. Quick About: Harlan Beverly Harlan Titus Beverly • PhD from OSU (est. 2016) • MBA from UT 2004 • BSEE from ONU 1999 • Programmer (Networking) • Chip Designer/Architect • Family:Super-Wife, 2xkids, 3xdogs, 5xhorses •Currently: President & CEO of Key Ingredient, Inc. (Social Food) •Founder/CEO Karmaback, Inc. (social Network Marketing) Acquired Jan 2013. •Founder/CEO Bigfoot Networks & Designer Killer NIC* Raised over $20MM in VC funding. Acquired in 2011 • 15 Issued Patents, across Networking, Security, and Game Tech. • Designed “World's first” 10-Gig Ethernet Adapter at Intel. * CPU Mag Product of the year 2009
  3. 3.  Co-founders & Employees  Investors  Suppliers  Partners  Potential Customers  “When I was CEO, my main job was selling. I was constantly selling to someone.” - Harlan
  4. 4.  No!  If your selling feels slimy, you are either:  NOT CONFIDENT ENOUGH ABOUT THE “VALUE” your product delivers..  Or  Your PRODUCT is not as good as you are saying.  Avoid Slimy selling at all costs. Be honest. Provide Value.  If you can’t solve customers problem/provide value… don’t sell it to them! Find the RIGHT customers!
  5. 5.  Investors want to know… what is YOUR sales model.  WE don’t want to know… it’s A today, and B tomorrow.  (prove B now!) even on a small scale.  Get 1 or 2 customers with B and show me how you will scale it.  We care about sales ONLY to strangers. (non-friends/family)  SOME MODELS:  Direct Sales  Inside Sales  You will have a sales-team that calls people/meet virtually. (e.g. they don’t leave their office)  Outside Sales  Your sales-people are Face-to-Face but outside their place of business, such as Door- to-door, trade shows, etc.  SOURCE:  Indirect Sales  You will not have a sales-team… but will close deals by:  Internet website  Mail order  Phone in-order, etc.
  6. 6. 1. Get some leads. (see Marketing section; part 2) 2. Qualify some leads – call them/email them/meet them, find out if they HAVE the problem you solve, and ARE in the market or WOULD be. 3. Each Call/Email/etc. should be about “LEARNING” about your prospect and his needs… ASK QUESTIONS! (book: SPIN selling: summary)  Situation ( questions )  Problem ( questions )  Implication ( questions )  Need-payoff ( questions ) 4. Each Call/Email is a “level-up” and you should always close the call with “next step”… e.g. follow-up call… next meeting.. Etc. 5. Let the customer decide to close! “do not pressure”… 1. Good: “As always, if you are interested to order feel free to call or email.” 2. Bad: “Are you ready to place your order now?”
  7. 7.  You must make it REALLY easy to “say yes or no.”  Clean, simple offering… with 1 Call-to-action: Buy Now  You must give confidence to the buyer that you will deliver.. And you will not fraud them.  Paypal, Visa logos, SSL sites, etc.  FEWEST CLICKS POSSIBLE  BUILD an amazing Landing Page  (see: The Conversion Scientist)  Use Internet Marketing to “pre-qualify” web traffic. (see part 2)
  8. 8.  Sell the VISION!  A great opener tells a story about a CORE PROBLEM.  If your business idea does not “solve a problem” for “a customer”.. Go back to the drawing board.  Show the Business Model. (how you make money)  Show how it will ‘scale’ and get big.  Show some financials… yes even to employees… let them know your GOAL is to get X..  Be Honest and Passionate above all else.  Always wear your Positivity Goggles.
  9. 9.  First, start with really understanding the basics of Marketing. (from Harlan’s blog): 4 Ps. 5 Cs. Product Price Place Promotion Customer Company, Competition Collaboration Context customer_action = customer_need * demand(product(5cs), place(5cs), price(5cs), promotion(5cs));
  10. 10.  Positioning is VERY IMPORTANT  You cannot be everything for everybody….  You must be SOME thing for SOME body.  THE STATEMENT… DO THIS NOW!  _____ is a ______ that does ______ for _________.  (product) (category) (core benefit) (target customer)  Unlike other _____ products, _____ does _____ .  (category) (product) (unique benefit)
  11. 11.  A lot of marketing that seems important isn’t.  Your Logo can be basic.  Your Website can be simple.  Your Design/style can be plain. (as long as it matches your target- customers preferences).  A Social page does not have to be fancy/have a lot of followers.  So don’t waste too much time/resources on this.  Focus on conveying the CORE value of your products & getting the core & unique BENEFITS across.  Focus on trust-building and GETTING SALES>  DO NOT FOCUS ON FEATURES!!!! (Benefits are more important).  Good: “Our product can reduce your Lag in games by 15%”.  Bad: “We have Ping-Reduction and 1GBPs connectivity.”
  12. 12.  In an early-stage startup.. BRAND is not the goal.  Your goal is to enable early sales to happen.  FOCUS on helping the sales-team get “QUALIFIED” leads.. (see next 2 slides).  THEN, build your brand on your early successes.
  13. 13.  Since a “human being” is involved in direct sales… marketing can best help by:  Getting qualified leads for the humans.  How?  Targeted Advertising -> email/phone acquisition -> list.  SEO -> email/phone acquisition -> list.  (if possible capture some qualifying data for the human sales-team).  NEVER LOSE SIGHT:  Investors/your company needs to be “somewhat scalable”… so the marketing you do, needs to be scalable too.
  14. 14.  Lots of Web Traffic is NOT the goal… the goal is to get “Qualified” web traffic:  Visitors that have the problem you solve  Visitors that are in a “buying mood”  Visitors that are “ready to click” BUY NOW  How?  Targeted Advertising (google/facebook)… targeting people who are your Target Market who are:  Searching for what you solve.  Like competing products.  Fit a customer profile.  Landing Page:  Focus on building great landing pages for each product.  A/B test them if you can… so you will always get the best results.  A/B test ads too… A/B test everything if you can.  Analytics.  Did I mention A/B testing… you MUST know how your site performs to know what is broken.  Enable Google Analytics, and use any tools you can to measure “sales conversions”  See “the funnel” (next slide)
  15. 15.  Direct or Indirect sales, you will always have customers at various stages. MEASURE AND TRACK stages of prospects  Try to keep in mind that customers have a “buying process” of their own... Learn it! Ex: who has to approve?
  16. 16.  Do price based on the VALUE you deliver.  Do not price based on your costs for the solution.  Do price high if you can. (higher than you think).  Do look at competitors price, and figure out your position.  Realize, if you don’t offer the full solution, you can charge the full price.  Do not discount, unless it has a set limit (expiration)  Do use coupons/discounts for ‘helping to close’, but always with an expiration.  Do give volume discounts.  Do not drop price. Ever.  Do try to differentiate customers & price descriminate… (although if you are targeted enough you won’t have to).