One of the most common mistakes my clients and the companies I coach and mentor make is not testing outbound selling first.
The truth is, it’s WAY easier to sell outbound than you think it is. In fact, outbound selling actually helps you accelerate your growth faster than any other sales strategy or hack.
Your future customers love to pay for things especially if they know they are investing in quality. But truthfully, learning to sell outbound is just the beginning..and if you haven’t tried outbound yet, it means there are underlying issues you need to address.
Here are 3 areas, in my opinion, you have to have locked down BEFORE you attempt outbound selling.
-You Mentality About Selling
You may think you are above it. You may think that your product is so wonderful that it will sell itself. You believe you first customer will tell everyone or your “inner circle” will be the key to your success.
The fact is, the reason you feel like this is because you have been sold before and it feels scummy to you. You hate to be asked for money and you don’t want to do the same to your customers. The challenge is, if you don’t ask, how the heck are you going to get paid for what you do?
Revenue doesn’t happen without cash exchanging hands and that doesn’t happen with out some form of sales or marketing or both.
Yes it’s scary to sell or get rejected by a client or two or several, but the more you get rejected the stronger you get at sales because you start developing patterns on what your target customer wants to hear and doesn’t want to hear.
I just heard an interview with AirBnB’s founder Brian Chesky (who is now worth over $3 Billion) and AirBNB was founded in 2007 and they tried to sell themselves to investors for literally YEARS until they finally got accepted into Y Combinator and got some people believing in them.
They were selling themselves and realized the importance of having an emphasis on sales. Remember, you’re a founder and you are salesman #1. The chances your first attempt driving people to your company through marketing (paid ads, SEO, content, social media, etc.) will fail, so be ready to actually have to talk to and pitch someone to get them to use your product.
…Here’s the deal, unless you change your mentality about selling, you’ll always be putting your company at a disadvantage and will always be risking your creations life and your investors dollars.
-Relying On Virality
You won’t be even close to the first entrepreneur to tell me your idea will go viral and will not be even close to the last. You think you’re different, smarter, better? You think your product is so superior because of some far out new feature that everyone is going to love. I will be the first to tell you that this is a dangerous mentality to have. There are literally thousands of businesses launching each month and the more there are, the harder it will get to actually get in front of your desired customer.
To my dismay, dozens of startups tell me that vitality is their launch plan….aka they have ZERO PLAN for taking their product to market. I just want to say this right now, if this is you, get this crap out of your head. It’s clouding your sense of reality and is going to make you look stupid.
Hell, I hope you are one of the ones who succeeds and comes back and tells me. More power to you. Chances are you won’t be and you need to rely on a real “PLAN” before you launch your SaaS.
If you don’t do this you’ll find yourself constantly on edge, twiddling your thumbs, tweaking your product, waiting for someone to come knock on your door. Without a plan and a system you’re chances of failure SKY ROCKET.
If you borrowed money from friends and family like most of my clients, you will be putting their investment in jeopardy. You better save face and save your baby by getting the virality crap out of our head. If it happens, great but don’t plan for it. Plan to sell the way where you can immediately maximize awareness to your target customer.
-Spending Time On Complete B.S.
How long did it take you to make that fancy intro video? How about those useless blog posts that NO ONE will ever see. Or how about the ebook or other stuff that is basically worthless.
Let me ask you…think about the last thing you bought online. Did you actually download an ebook, watch a video, read a blog post, before you bought. The likely hood is not. If you did, how established was that brand? How much marketing budget did they have and how big way their team? Do you have access to that cash, those people, and time that they have to sit on their cash reserves before their campaigns deliver and ROI?
You may have heard the term “Content is king” but this doesn’t apply to you this early on. It’s been shoved down our throat by all those marketing automation softwares that promise to make our lives easier. Heck Hubspot has a “Startup Special” that you should check out yourself.
They claim “companies are 3X as likely to see a higher ROI on inbound than on outbound.” This doesn’t apply to Startups because most aren’t even around when it take 3-6 months just to get the HubSpot software up and running. Sure HubSpot grew through both Inbound and Outbound marketing but they had an absolute genius CMO, time, and money. Do you have that? Most of us don’t.
So, don’t waste all your precious time creating stuff that will not help you sell now. If it can’t be directly used immediately for sales, cut it.
Because it works! Because you have the ability to go directly to your target customer. You have the ability to accelerate your awareness, especially if no one is searching for what you are creating.
There is also a shift going on that will help you tremendously. More and more companies are shying away from outbound which makes NOW BETTER THAN EVER to sell using outbound.
Let’s take an instance like this. You may have a product that is being heavily searched for such as project management software, CRMs, or some kind of marketing automation.
Yeah sure you can buy advertising or try to use content marketing BUT you are competing with companies that have almost unlimited budgets. Do you want to go up against the likes of Salesforce, Basecamp, Asana, Mailchimp, Infusionsoft? I don’t. In this case Inbound puts you at a distinct disadvantage because you are going to have to pay a ton for eyeballs whether you like it or not.
If you software is truly worth your target customers time you are going to want to get in front of them, maybe in person to impress them. You need that leverage in the beginning because they have heard about all of your competitors before. In this case you may have to get really narrow and be a “project management tool for graphic designers” or a “CRM for solar companies.”
Either way no one is going to trust you right off the bat and an ad is going to be very ineffective.
For solutions where literally NO ONE is looking for you such as my brothers previous company Petdesk, your best way to drive awareness is to get your prospect on the phone and teach them why they need you. Your website or your short video is not going to do a good enough job because your customers don’t even know that they need you.
If you want to build a scalable, replicable system and really get your SaaS in front of as many possible customers as possible Outbound is your best bet at launch. As you grow, you can scale into inbound because you will have brand recognition, but if you want to survive the first year of your SaaS’s life outbound is the way to go.
We have never done this but my brother and I want to open up our calendars to discuss outbound strategy with you if you are looking to build a sales system for your Saas. Simply set up a time to chat here http://www.meetme.so/startupcmo.