As a smaller company or a startup just starting to sell you have options as to how to generate your leads and how to set your company up for growth.
I work with startups and smaller companies every day. I help them to figure out their technology stack and strategies for achieving their growth goals. When I ask them questions about their growth their most common answers have to do with quick wins and not thinking strategically about their longer term growth. This makes me think that some of them don't really want to be around 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or 50 years from now.
If you started a company you did so for a reason. (I hope). Remember those reasons and why you got into this business when you start to assess your marketing and sales strategies. You should be thinking about the longer term growth of your company and setting up correct processes for your organization for not just today but for years to come.
How are you planning on growing?
How are you going to generate leads and new business?
The typical answers to these questions in an early stage, high growth company has to do with quick wins for generating new leads and new customers. Startups are not typically interested in tomorrow, they are interested in today's problems. I think that strategy is wrong if you plan on being around longer than just the next 2 years. Here are the typical answers I get to growth questions for a startup on how they are going to generate their leads.
- Referrals and word of mouth
- Founders and VC network
- Cold calling
- List buying
- Trade shows
- Media and PR
- Sprinkle in a little bit of online marketing...
The companies who focus on quick wins will get customers. BUT, they will have problems later on with their processes.
Putting all your eggs in the "quick win baskets" at first is bad for your longer term success of your sales and marketing infrastructure. Years later you will have problems that you will have to go back and spend time on fixing. You will have to create a whole new way of creating demand gen for your company and that takes time. You should have started at the beginning when you were working on those quick wins. If you had put some time, money and resources into the longer term marketing and sales strategies (on top of the quick wins) you would be in a better position to continue your fast growth.
If you just focus on quick wins when starting out you will have lead generation problems, you will have data problems that could have been thought through early on to avoid these set backs later on.
To avoid having to do work on the problems that you avoided in the early days of your company 2, 5, 10 years from now you need to know what those are so you can set your startup up for success 2, 5, 10 years from now.
Here is how you do it.
1. Invest in technology for marketing and sales early on. Meaning from day one that you get going.
2. Invest in the right people to work on not just today's lead gen and sales growth but for 2-5 years from then.
3. Invest in creating the correct processes for sales and marketing to work together the right way from the beginning.
If you started your company because you want to change the way something works in our world you should think about being around for a long time. I suggest these strategies for companies who are not just thinking about being acquired, quick wins, etc. These strategies will help your marketing and sales teams get setup for success later on after the quick wins from referrals, from cold calls, from word of mouth and your network are all played out and tapped.