New Factory, speaking from community point of view, has a huge knowledge bank collected through years by entrepreneurs, facilitators, mentors etc. Their experiences are real working according to principle “been there, done that”. Sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas is an indispensable ingredient of success. That’s how the concept of our in-house panel discussion was born on one busy afternoon.
The first try-out of the panel discussion was done on Monday 18.4. at New Factory premises. As decided by a group of active New Factory startups, the first panel was dedicated to the most painful part any company faces – sales and marketing. Among panelists, there were 2 community members (Simo from NurseBuddy & Reetu from Culinar) and invited guest or, simply put, marketing guru (Ann Padley). Panel discussion has proven to be the most relevant format since the main actor of the dialogue is the audience that brings the questions on the table. It ultimately created the added value to an event since panelists raised issues most interesting for listeners. Moreover, the discussion has taken a fruitful turn when panelists sincerely shared their most painful experiences and failures in sales/marketing. Some take-aways from discussion:
Sales and marketing, by definition of one of the panelists-entrepreneurs, is about solving customer problem. Often customer does not even know the problem, and, consequently, solution.
Cold-calling is terrifying but it’s a part of the game. At first, it’s about quantity. Don’t give up after the instant “no” response but continue with “why?” question. It might not turn the “no” to “yes” but it will indeed provide a good feedback to your product/service and help to fine-tune future calls towards positive answer.
The cycle of closing a deal, from the first call to signing papers, varies from customer to customer. It could literally take years for bigger corporations to pull the deal through multiple circles of decision-makers. Don’t depend on big, start selling to small clients – it’s faster.
Invest small in 19 different marketing/sales channels available today, and test which ones work for your product and which ones should be dropped. Paid advertisements on Facebook, for instance, could be not just the marketing instrument but also a great market research tool to monitor behavior of your targets. Iterate!
Startups mistakenly assume that sales should be at the end of the product development cycle when, in reality, it has to start simultaneously with product design phase. Sales also require lean approach. It’s easier to modify and improve the product when it’s not finished yet.
Sales/marketing is a process that also requires planning. Define the marketing calendar to know when to publish a new blog post, start a social media campaign or attend the roadshow.
Readings recommended by panelists:
Podcast | Mixergy
Book | Predictable Revenue
Article | Do Things That Don’t Scale
Book | The Power of Habit
New Factory has brought together a powerful community of skilled entrepreneurs who either succeeded or failed but, importantly, have gone through the startup path from ideation phase and product development to fundraising and sales.
What’s next?! Stay tuned for the updates regarding May’s panel discussion!