When working with a Business to Business (B2B) model, some preparation is required in order to get your start-up’s product off the ground and into the customer’s hands. It is for that purpose that you must develop and implement a Sales Funnel, as it will allow you to efficiently target potential customers and get them interested in buying your service/product. Without a Sales Funnel, your company will be working blind, and it will be difficult to find the right people to buy your product.
Upon setting out to establish your very own B2B sales funnel, you will need to shift your perspective and look at the bigger picture. You will outline, in detail, what you think your target client company should be. It helps if during the profiling process, you organize the prospective customers according to the following metrics:
Keep in mind however that you are not mapping a Persona, but rather your B2B client, as you are selling your product to other companies. Thus, what you are outlining are the specifics of the companies that could be interested in buying from you. As such, it is vital that you figure out exactly what companies would make the most out of using your service.
With the B2B client profiled, you should now move on to outlining the Buyer Persona. This will be your attempt at identifying the profile of the decision maker within the target company who will have a say on whether or not to buy from your start-up. As with the B2B Client profile, you may discriminate this persona along different criteria, such as:
Once the Buyer Persona has been defined, it is crucial that you go out and try to validate your assumptions as quickly as possible. This will involve setting up interviews with potential clients so that you can ask them for feedback. These interviews should be set up in accordance with the parameters you have defined earlier.
A good number of interviews to aim for is between 10 and 20. The more interviews you conduct, the better your data pool will be, which in turn will allow you to gain a better understanding of your potential customer’s issues and top priorities. When inquiring about your solution, remember to ask how much money they would pay for it. This metric will let you calculate whether it is worth it to go after that market or not.
At this stage, if you have successfully validated your assumptions regarding the metrics, key points, and your ability to solve the companies’ problems, and were able to prove that both the target companies and buyer persona you outlined are the best fit for your start-up, then it is time to create a process.
Please note that you should always adapt your process to the pricing of your product. You do not want to be wasting money on a process that costs more to maintain than what your product is bringing in.
It is crucial that you think about the lifetime value of your product – that is, how much money you can expect to earn over the lifetime of a customer when they buy from you. Always relate this to the customer acquisition cost. These two parameters should (at the bare minimum) be maintained at a ratio of 1 to 3, with the CAC being 1/3 of the LTV of your customers. Of course, if you can push that ratio above 1 to 3, such as going up to 1 to 5 or 1 to 10, that would be superb. Just keep in mind that falling below 1 to 3 is not something you want to do, as that will make it difficult to find outside investors.
Once you have set up your Sales Process in accordance with your product, it will probably look something like this:
Keep in mind that just because a deal was closed, this does not mean that you’re done working with that company. Customer success is vital for the long-term success of your enterprise, and that means successfully implementing your solution at their company, and making sure the customer is happy with the product. Ideally you should also be able to upsell your product through them by getting referrals as well as ensuring customer retention.
Remember to keep your team small when you start out. Ideally, you’ll want to do as much of this process yourself as you are able to, so that you can really learn from it and understand what the clients you’re going after want. This will build and strong understanding of the market that will serve you will in years to come.
Then, as soon as your company is generating good numbers and profit, you will be able to scale up, as at that stage you will know that you have found something which not only works, but can be truly successful. Remember, however, that scaling up too early is a sure-fire way of killing your company.
Finally, never forget that while all of this sounds relatively straightforward on paper, it is not. Implementing this process in the real world is quite difficult, so be prepared.