Each day new companies are born into the vast world of the internet with a common dilemma. How do I find my first sales?
You’ve built your website, launched it, and thought it would be like the next Facebook, where magically people hear about it and the traffic pours in. Not quite. Of course, there is a friends and family email, announcements on Facebook, Twitter and maybe Instagram. Even though your mom, brother and grandma all liked the post they’re likely not your target customer. I’ve compiled a few valuable tools, many with free trials, that will help you hack your first sales as a startup efficiently:
B2B sales can be especially tricky and I’ve found that EmailHunter is a fantastic tool to help you identify the decision makers at your favorite companies. With a little LinkedIn searching and a little EmailHunter, you’ll be able to use EmailHunter for free up to 150 searches to build a target group of possible customers. After the first few searches, the monthly subscription is quite reasonable.
Pro tip: If you use a CRM tool like Hubspot, you can search prospects based on the company they are visiting your site from (on the dashboard Tools>Prospects). Not a 100% match, but you may be able to retarget existing visitors by finding a likely decision maker that visited your site.
Data.com is a Salesforce product and one that can be helpful depending on what kind of data you already are working with. Often this can keep you from paying for data, as you can get credits for existing data you upload into the system. Of course, be careful that you have the rights to that data. Similar to EmailHunter, Data.com will allow you to search a company, or person you think could be a prospective customer, then access their contact information.
The major dilemma with new companies is that you want to blast out emails to new, cold leads, but don’t want it to look like spam with the ‘unsubscribe’ information at the bottom. In comes Mixmax. While you’re going to be limited to about 300 emails/day via your Gmail account, you’ll be able to now track opens, schedule meetings, and use templates in a mostly personalized manner.
Spamming groups is one thing (and I don’t advise it!), but thoughtful, targeted posts to the right demographic is another. Are there groups that you’re active in and could use the product you are producing? Let’s pretend you have a SAAS solution and you are eager to get some of your first beta testers out there using it. Perhaps a couple folks would be interested in giving it a test drive. Selling some sort of unofficial fan t-shirt for your favorite team? Start with sharing to the fan groups, again, don’t be annoying, just put it out there, maybe even ask for feedback.
While this is a great site for almost all things startup, including tools for your early, bootstrapping days, check out Startup Stash’s resource for a few more directories and sites that specialize in covering what is new in the startup world. You can see their “Early Users” section by clicking here: http://startupstash.com/earlyusers/
Looking for marketing tools and tricks to draw more traffic to your site? Check out an earlier post I did on getting started with digital marketing.
Have more tools to add? Let me know in the comments section what they are and why you like them.