Where should entrepreneurs focus their efforts in going to market?

Take-aways from a talk in the Trust Center on 7/19/16

Determine where to play

  • Is there a specific geo/ market/ vertical / products you should focus on?
  • Things to consider: TAM, segmentation (meaningful, actionable), customer profile, buying process
  • Your segmentation should be meaningful and actionable:
    • Meaningful: segmentation that represents things that really make a difference. Is anything significantly different about these markets? Different marketing strategy? Different messaging? Different buying process?
    • Actionable:  you can actually do something about it. Customers you can track differently, take different actions for acquiring, that have different consuming habits you can address.

Determine how to win

  • In many cases, your true competition is not against other players but against the “as-is” state.
  • Things to consider: Economic value/ ROI story, Sales and marketing execution
    • ROI story - How can you demonstrate that your customers will gain more ROI/ more economic value? With B2C - maybe the value is not economic but rather emotional. With B2C its more straight forward- what’s the impact to the bottom line? Efficiency? Cost savings?

Making choices:

  • Be the best in your own domain, instead of everything to everyone.
  • The more targeted you are, the easier it will be for you to understand your customers, to reach out to them, to make them feel like the product was made for them.

Customers buying process:

Initiation à information gathering à evaluation à decision à purchase à usage and renewal

  • Understanding where people are on this journey is critical and will change the nature of your conversation: when you cold-call your customers they are in very early stages so the conversation will be very different than when they are proactively searching for your company.

Gathering pipeline

  • Marketing - Inbound vs outbound
    • Outbound - you are reaching out to the customers: TV ads, emails, digital ads…
    • Inbound - you attract companies to you: blogs, webinars, and relevant content. Instead of direct advertising, using hidden suggestion inside content that customers care about.
    • Pros and cons of marketing:
      • Pros: scales well, captures interest
      • Con: long lead time (feedback cycle takes a while, not easy to gather feedback), high cost of failure.
  • Sales: cold outreach
    • Pros and cons of this method:
      • Pros: quick results, instant learning
      • Cons: expensive, scales poorly, capped.
  • Partners and channels:
    • Pros and cons of channels:
      • Pros: “when it’s great its great” (scale, cost saving). Channels will know the local community, the culture, they have the connections. It’s cheaper than setting your own operations locally.
      • Cons: It’s rarely great… (control, alignment) – It is hard to control channels operations, the way they brand your company, their pricing etc.
    • Motivating your channels: think less about money and compensation for your partners and more about helping them grow their business. If your partners have operational pain points, help them solve them!
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