Tag Archives: Startup

B2B Sales Lessons from GetGlue

fraserdemocampLast week’s Sales Peer to Peer at the Innovation Factory in Hamilton featured Fraser Kelton, COO of New York-based GetGlue.

Fraser was in town to speak on the B2B sales lessons he’s learned at GetGlue, one of the pioneers in providing second screen experiences.

As a side note, TV guide app company i.TV recently announced the acquisition of GetGlue and their 4.5 million registered users for its second-screen and TV check-in service.

Here are some key takeaways from the presentation:

1) When It Comes to Startups, There Are 2 Types of People – Building and Sales

When you work for a startup you’re either doing one or the other – there’s no room for anyone else on the team. As we like to say at VA Partners, everyone is in sales for a new business.

2) Sell What You Have

At the beginning of the sales effort, because you don’t have results yet, you have to sell what you have. For GetGlue’s first close that meant the opportunity for a really great PR story for their client.

3) Make Your Customers Look Good By Helping Them Be Successful

This aligns very well with the lesson above. Following GetGlue’s first sale, their first customer’s decision maker was promoted in part because of her decision to go with GetGlue.

4) Leverage an Existing User Community Where Possible

For GetGlue they were able to leverage fans/users to help close new clients by having them relay their feelings on the solution

5) Mining Linkedin is a Top Meeting Generation Strategy

GetGlue used direct connections to find 2nd connections through Linkedin. The response rate and success rate was significantly better than with cold calling or cold emailing.

6) Keep Tweaking Your Sales Pitch Until You Find One That Repeatedly Works Well

When GetGlue started, the team wasn’t sure whether their story would resonate with prospects. They tried different slide decks in meetings and continuously evaluated the results until they settled on the best story, one that worked time and time again.

7) Always Deepen Your Relationships

GetGlue would start with new clients through one specific area of their business, usually around a particular show. They would then methodically go through the account, referencing past work, until they had all the business within an account.

8) Integrate Into Your Customers Regular Processes

By providing analytics and interfacing with many parts of their customers’ businesses, the GetGlue solution became fundamental to measuring the success of many broadcasts.

9) Momentum is the Oxygen for Startups

It’s important to remember to always continue moving forward, even in small steps when you need to, to make your business successful.

10) Make Sure That Onboarding is Very Easy for End Users

It can be expensive and time consuming to sign new users or customers. If they abandon soon after you get them signed up, all of your sales and marketing effort is wasted in the blink of an eye.

If you live or work in the Hamilton area, please join us for the next Sales Peer to Peer at the Innovation Factory on February 5th, 2014.  If you’re looking for other B2B sales strategies to help your startup grow, check out our white paper on building a startup sales team.

Choosing the Right Social Media Tools for Your Startup

By now we’re all aware of the importance of social media for marketing and sales. There’s no marketing tool that can rival Facebook’s usability and visual nature. Except for Pinterest. And Twitter’s interconnectivity and speed is unrivalled in the history of mass communications. LinkedIn is the only avenue for B2B marketing and sales that matters. The list goes on and on.

As a free (or nearly free) tool, social media has become a pillar of startup marketing and sales strategies. But with so many social media tools at your disposal, it can often be hard to know exactly where to start and which tools are worth your time and effort.

While I’m a firm believer that creative marketers can successfully leverage any platform, it’s a reality that some social media tools will be better than others for building relationships with the customers you need to reach. Here are 3 questions to ask yourself when considering what social media tools you should be utilizing:

1. Who is your target audience? Understanding who your target market is, where they are, and what they are looking for must be at the centre of your marketing, sales, and social media strategies. The medium is the message, and unique target markets will respond differently to different social media tools. If you’re a startup focusing on reaching young, fashion-savvy teenage girls, Pinterest is probably a good place to invest your time since 68.2% of Pinterest users are women, it’s a visual platform, and its social atmosphere should resonate.  If you sell standardized industrial widgets? Take a pass. It’s unlikely the foremen you sell your products to spend their workday browsing for the latest hip fashions. There are better uses for your time and marketing budget.

2. What are you trying to accomplish? The key question here is “What sort of behaviour am I looking to drive in my target market?” It’s immensely important to define your goals. If your focus is raising awareness, you should be using a different set of tools than if your focus is seeking out prospective customers to add to your sales funnel. It may sound odd, but some social media tools are inherently more ‘social’ than others. To create a marketing buzz, focus your efforts on social media tools that allow for easy sharing and are organized based on user interests like Twitter, Pinterest, or a blog.

3. What are the limitations of the available tools? Take the time to thoroughly understand what each social media tool can offer your business. Will your target market respond better to a link to a relevant website on Twitter or an interactive video on YouTube? Are the unique benefits of your products and services best communicated through text or photos? Answering questions like these will quickly narrow your focus. Many websites also provide businesses with a host of helpful tips and programs that can be of great value to a startup. Place an emphasis on tools that provide quality analytics programs so you can analyze your efforts and make adjustments as needed.

Don’t try and boil the ocean. As labours of love, startups are already time consuming enough. While social media can be helpful in prospecting for customers and nurturing relationships, not all businesses are well suited to every social media tool. The best social media tools for your startup are the ones that will help you connect and collaborate with customers, build the right relationships, and optimize your content for maximum ROI. To find out more about how Venture Accelerator Partners can help you with your marketing, sales, and social media, check out our website.

 

Attention Startups! Content Marketing is easier than it looks

by Stephanie Goodman

As with every job, there is no end to learning. As Mark always says to me, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” In light of this, I make a conscious effort to visit a webinar, read a new blog or talk to a new expert in the industry once a week. Last week I visited my trusted source for marketing info: Hubspot. While we are currently revamping our website, I found it most appropriate to attend a webinar on content marketing. The webinar, hosted by Mike Stelzner from Social Media Examiner, described how marketing should not be used to sell to our customers, rather, it should be used to educate them.

Mike stated, like space, nothing remains still and everything is in orbit. Our startups, growing organizations and their strategies fall under this metaphor. What does stay constant in our marketing process is that we are always engaging with people. So how do we provide relevant, valuable content in an ever changing environment? Below are some of the webinar highlights that I believe will help you get your content marketing strategies started or back on track.

Marketers are treating their customers like children. Instead of walking alongside of our customers, many of us are forcing them to comply to our will. Your service may be beneficial to your customers, but do they know that they need you? (Again, you don’t know what you don’t know). In saying this, speak to your customers needs, do not speak about your products. In our case, our prospects may not know their startup needs sales or marketing assistance. By providing blogs, whitepapers and newsletters with tips on how to grow a startup, we are speaking to their needs and incorporating strategies and tactics deemed helpful in order to get them to where they want to be.

Are your gifts really marketing messages in disguise? When you give someone a gift for their birthday, do you give them a picture of yourself (let’s take parents/grandparents out of this equation)? I hope you don’t. You give them something that is valuable to them or something that will bring them happiness. Same goes for content marketing. If you’re writing about yourself/your company all the time rather than writing for your audience, you are committing the crime of giving them a picture of yourself on their birthday.

I’m a startup and I don’t have money for marketing, let alone content marketing. The great thing about content marketing is that you can do it in a way that only cost your time, not your paycheque. If you don’t have a blog, develop a strategy to start one (link to previous blog). If you don’t have whitepapers, develop a strategy to write your first one and post it. The whole idea is a shift from buying ad space to providing great quality content, experience and to gather valuable information within a community that can use it. Here are some ways to come up with great content:

  • Think of your last meeting with a prospect. What kinds of business pains did they have? What questions did they ask? What preconceived notions did they share?
  • Attend webinars, read others blogs and accept a few newsletters. Summarize the points you think your audience will find useful and write about them; you can also write opinion pieces on why you perhaps disagree but remember to back up your claims.
  • Attend startup events in your area. Because they are for startups, majority of the events will be free (the only cost is your time). Gather points about the presentations or see if you can interview one of the presenters at a later date if you think they could provide valuable insight that you can turn into valuable content.

I really liked Mike’s phrase “Caging Marketing.” Don’t’ go for the kill just because you can see it. Your prospects need to trust you in order to approach you. As a startup, it may seem difficult to build a reputation as trustworthy because the majority of people still don’t know who you are or where you came from. Build off that. This is your clean slate to show your audience what you’re made of and how well you know what you know. Don’t be afraid to admit your shortcomings and ask for advice; people love to give their opinion and share their expertise. While you build your company, build your network by sharing, interacting and listening to what your prospects, customers and partners are saying.

If you want to discuss content marketing further or you have any particular questions pertaining to getting started, feel free to visit our website and reach out to Stephanie Goodman.

 

How to get the most from a networking event

Blog by my fellow co-worker Marc DeAmorim (@marcdeamorim)

Networking is an important aspect for both individuals and companies. It can allow you to build powerful and potentially profitable connections with numerous people. However, networking can prove to be challenging and at times even a little intimidating. I recently attended my very first networking event, SproutUp hosted by Sprouter here in Toronto and would like to offer my personal experience to help you get the most out of your networking events.

Below is a list of points that helped me get the most out of my very first networking event.

Define your networking success. It might sound odd to “define” what you would deem a networking success but it proves to be most helpful. By establishing what you want out of the networking event you have set a goal for yourself -one that you can work towards achieving. The best goals should be reasonable and measurable, such as collecting five business cards or talking to ten people, thus allowing you to clearly determine if you were successful.

Practice what you want to say. Going over what you want to say ahead of time will help you feel more comfortable while at the event. A good elevator pitch is a big help. With a little practice you will have helped to put yourself at ease and will have smoother conversations once at the event.

Arrive early to the event. This will allow you to become comfortable in the new setting and allow you the chance to ease into your networking event. You will also have the opportunity to introduce yourself as new people arrive, making for a great time to say hello.

Be friendly and be confident.If you are polite and friendly they will welcome the chance to get to know you, so don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. Be confident in knowing that these people are just like you -here to meet new people and make connections.

Swap business cards and make a note. The best way to swap information is through the exchange of a business card but to get even more out of a business card, I recommended making a short right on it.  Jot down something about the contact or their business to help you associate your conversation to their business card. This will be great for following up for future connections.

I am proud to say that my very first networking event was a success. My goal was to collect five business cards, which I was not only able to reach but exceed with an additional ten cards. I felt accomplished knowing that I had reached my goal and look forward to the chance to try again at some of the events in June . Additionally, I met a lot of new and wonderful people at the event, who I have since connected with over LinkedIn, e-mail or Twitter, and I learned some savvy business points from  Sean Ellis (@SeanEllis) on how to avoid common start-up marketing problems. I gained a lot from attending this networking event and feel that the above points really helped me have such a successful night.

Networking can be an exciting opportunity and with the help of these tips I hope that you can get the most out of all your networking events. If you would like to learn about more great events every month, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

To learn more about our part-time sales, marketing and social media services for startups and growing organizations, please visit our website.