Lead Generation and Growth Hacking Blog

How To Win Your First Customers As A B2B Startup


As if being a startup in the modern IT jungle of today isn’t hard enough, but a B2B one. You don’t make social media that draws people to sign in in order to post pretty pictures, but a complex software that can only be sold to serious companies. 

So how the hell are you going to promote yourself and convince people to try your solution?

Fret not, because acquiring your first customers may be a lot easier than it looks.

1. Create Ideal Customer Profile and Buying Persona

Before you do anything regarding your sales and marketing, make sure you know who are the companies that should be buying from you. We mentioned this several times before in our blogs, but this is such an important first step that can make or break your sales and marketing efforts. Don't think any company would buy from you and don't try to sell to everyone.

When determining your Ideal Customer Profile you should look into the revenue of the company, the number of employees, type of product or service they’re selling and a goal that they have, that your solution can help them achieve.

If you are completely out of ideas about what these companies might be, look at the customer profile of your competitors. Which companies are buying from them? Can you target those companies as well and offer a better price or a service?

If there are no competitors and your product is innovative, search for companies that could use your solution and that could achieve their goals quicker and faster with your solution at hand.

Then determine your Buying Persona i.e. job title and description whose opinion is the most relevant in the purchasing process. Be careful, as there might be several of them in bigger companies. Find the decision maker(s) inside that company that you should reach out to and explain why your solution is good for them. 

However, not all C-level people and VPs benefit from your product or service, so make sure you know who is the right person. Also, not all companies have the same organizational structure so you should definitely do a little research about whether the manager is the decision maker, as well. 

Do you have any contacts working in companies that may buy your product? Check if they are the decision makers. If not, ask your contacts to introduce you to a decision maker or two inside that company. Truth be told, this might be the most probable way to get your first customer as well as your 100th. Make sure you maintain your old AND new relationships. 

2. Craft Your Messaging

Once you’ve determined your ICP and IBP, do a little research on the web (social media and websites like Reddit and Quora) to see what are the biggest pain points and goals of those companies and decision makers. Maybe they need to sell more or they want to be promoted ASAP. Maybe they have a new target audience that can be easily reached with your solution. Think about their daily responsibilities and how you can help them do a better job than they’re doing now.

Then craft your email thread (introduction email and follow up emails) that will present your solution as an answer to their troubles. 

For example, you have a software that can automate sales – tell them how you can save their money and time with easy to learn and manage solution. 

Try to be as concise as possible and try to implement that message into the very first sentence or subject line of your email, call or a meeting. Ok maybe say „Hello, how are you?“ before that.

3. Find The Right Contacts

Now that you know what and to whom you are going to send your offer, it’s time to look for the email addresses of those people.

You can use some of the numerous email finding websites (Findthat.email, FindThatLead, etc), Account Based Selling tools or try your luck on LinkedIn. It’s what the salespeople call prospecting.

If you don’t have time to do it yourself, you can always find lead generation freelancers around the web or hire a specialized lead gen agency that will help you get the most accurate leads out there.

4. Start A Marketing And Email Campaign

Once you’ve received your contact list it’s time to reach out to them with those perfectly tailored emails and provide a content that will relate to their problems and goals. 

Hopefully, you already finished making some of the marketing basics like landing and pricing pages, as well as social media profiles.

Include your content in email campaigns, share your knowledge on blogs and social media, write eBooks and whitepaper or make educational videos and webinars.

All of these sales masterpieces will help you gather new leads and push your existing contacts a bit further down the sales funnel.

You can be as creative as you wish, just make sure you promote your solution and that your message is clear.

Track the behavior of your potential buyers and check whether they open your email, click on your link or reply to your message. The more they engage – the more interested they are. 

5. Rinse And Repeat

Of course, you don’t have to make your ICP every time you start a new sales and marketing campaign, but you should tweak it so it suits your and their needs even better the next time. 

Once you’ve started your selling to your Ideal Customers, you will get a clearer idea about the messaging that you should use and the products or services you should offer. Just take your time and follow the results, selling should become easier with time.

Maybe you will have to adjust your messaging for each new product/service/upgrade that you add to your business. 

After a while, you will need more contacts and leads to sell to and you should make a new marketing and sales campaign every now and then, promoting all the changes and improvements in your business.

These are the first steps that will guarantee you acquire new customers if you do everything right and make good calculations. But these steps can be used in any of your sales efforts. 

The important thing is to start as soon as possible, maybe even before your product is complete. This way you will test the market and know your strengths and weaknesses right away. 

Should you have any more questions and doubts – feel free to contact us. We’ve been helping startups deal with those issues for years.


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