My conversations with early-stage founders in our recent Growth Spurts sessions have focused on traction: how to drive consistent, predictable growth. More than ever, founders have to find lean growth, conserve cash, and extend their runways whilst strengthening the fundamentals of their business.
Love it or loath it, for B2B (and some B2C) businesses, outbound can be the most effective growth channel you have. But many founders don't know where to start.
In this article we discuss the most immediate and effective ways to generate traction and revenue. Stick with us as we break down sales and bottom-of-funnel marketing strategies, tactics and the processes that underpin them. We'll then work through ultra-practical ways to test and implement them within your business.
Intimate customer understanding is the key to outstanding sales + marketing.
Outbound is a dirty word.
It's often seen as cheap. Spammy. Intrusive. And it is 99% of the time.
Here's the problem: unwanted, untargeted and under-researched sales and marketing material is bad for everyone. Don't blame the channel, blame the lazy marketer.
The 1% who cut through, delight their customers and develop a programme that delivers excellent ROI and predictable growth. How? An intimate understanding of their customer, translated into a programme that approaches them at the right time, with the right message on the right channels.
First step, develop that understanding. How your ideal customer thinks. Acts. Where they hang out and what would compel them to buy your product before you pick up the phone. Dig into that below by formalising your ICP (ideal customer profile) and mapping their journey out.
Next, build the understanding into your business. The key: driving these messages into every action you take across the customer journey from acquisition to revenue and retention, then into the way your people think about optimising what they do. Check out Salesforce's 7 Steps to Building a Customer-Obsessed Culture in Your Sales Organisation to learn more on the former, then dig into how to build a growth process here.
Ready to get started? Head down to the next sections for some handy tips.
Apply the learning.
💡 Identify and build your ideal customer profile.
Invest the time in learning who your buyers are, what their pain points are and what they want from a solution, before you formalise your sales and marketing strategies. A buyer persona is a great tried and tested way to capture a detailed description of your target customers. Check our Hootesuite's handy customer persona template here to kick things off.
📍 Map out your buyer's journey.
Outlining the steps a customer takes to purchase is critical to understand how you can improve your customer experience, reduce the number of customers who don't convert, unlock new marketing channels and increase your sales. Your business model will impact your customer journey. For example, for B2B SaaS your customers may attend a webinar, download an eBook or watch an on-demand demo. For e-commerce, it could be a blend of digital marketing channels which drive your customer back to your site or product. Understanding the key customer journeys, and documenting them thoroughly so you can revisit them regularly is a fundamental element of nailing your sales approach. Miro has lots of helpful templates including a Customer Journey Map which is a great place to start.
🧠 Formalise your growth hypothesises.
I'm sure your team is bursting with ideas to enhance your sales and marketing performance, particularly if you are just getting started with your business. However, endless brainstorming without logging the most promising ideas can mean you miss opportunities to really move the dial on your performance. We always recommend using a Growth Board for our portfolio companies, which is an easy way to log, prioritise, track and analyse the performance of your experiments. You can find our template here, with some example experiments. Why not start using it today to help align your teams?