People.ai

It’s a challenge: when you’re a small, growing start-up and you need to make smart sales and marketing decisions in order to hit your numbers. But often you don’t have the requisite data points to make these decisions without multiple years’ worth business analytics.

Combine that problem with your shoestring technology budget and you’re now in a difficult position to make informed and accurate decisions. So what’s an enterprising sales or marketing leader to do?

We posed this question to a panel of marketing leaders at our recent data-driven B2B marketing meetup.

Here are some tips they gave our audience.

Get Personal With Your Existing Customers

When you’re just starting out, your first ten customers aren’t just buying the product you’re offering them today—they’re investing in your future. They’re confident you’ll evolve and grow over time in a way that continues to meet their business challenges. That’s why, if you ask them, they’ll spend time with you to help you gain a better understanding of their needs.

“I personally emailed every single person who signed up for our service in the first 18 months,” said Claire Hunsaker, Senior Director of Demand Generation, Okta. “I just asked for feedback or a phone call, then I asked how they found out about us, what do they care about, etc.”

Spending time with your first customers in this way provides the insights you need to develop buyer personas that will connect with your ideal customer audience.

Put Free Google and Social Site Tools to Use

Most websites already have Google Analytics installed to track how users interact with their website, but fewer have Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster tools) enabled. While Google Analytics will help you understand the information potential customers need to make their purchase decisions, Google Search Console helps you understand how search engines interact with your site. This can uncover areas of site performance and usability improvement to focus on.

Depending on what you enable in Google’s tools, you may be able to obtain useful demographic information about your prospects. But for an even more clear picture of what sets your customers apart from the general public, check out the analytics tools the social media platforms you use provide. Twitter’s audience insights tool, in particular, can provide some details that can help you bring your marketing content to life in a way that engages.

Connect with Your Industry Peers

Guess what? You’re not alone in your quest for data and benchmarks! It’s likely that other sales and marketing leaders in your industry need the same data. That’s why professional associations often conduct member surveys that help define benchmarks like this. But if there isn’t one for your industry, reach out to non-competitive industry peers and propose how you can help each other by sharing your insights.

“If you don’t know what to expect for conversion percentages from each stage, find a similar company or a group of similar companies and see if they’ll share some of that information with you,” said Mimi Rosenheim, Director of Web Marketing, Demandbase.”We’ve all been in this situation, but we don’t have to start from scratch.”

Book Educational Meetings, Not Just Prospect Meetings

Your future customers are tired of vendor demos. And they’re especially tired of the endless streams of sales pitches that land in their inbox. But here’s one way to stand out: offer to bring in one of your internal experts for an educational lunch and learn on a relevant topic. That’s what one organization did for Emma Dunstone, Vice President Marketing, Mixpanel.

“They weren’t a salesperson, they just came in and talked to the entire team across different several experience levels—and just answered every question,” she said. “There was not a single effort in trying to sell us. They just answered our questions, told us how we were doing and even told us their pitfalls”.

As Dunstone noted, this kind of gesture builds a relationship that’s built to last. “That relationship is super special,” she said. “While it might not be the right time to buy, you’ll never forget that.”

Explore Your VC Network

If you’re venture-funded, look into any formal or informal networks your VC firms sponsor. They’re likely to have funded a number of companies in similar stages, with overlapping audiences. And since you have an investor in common, they’re more likely to share their learnings with you.

Hunsaker found her VC network contacts to be invaluable. “They had the data—they’d tried out all these things I couldn’t afford and didn’t have the resources to do. So, I could learn from their mistakes,” she said.

Ready to move beyond the basics and take a more data-driven approach to your sales and marketing activities? Schedule a demo with People.ai. We’d love to show you how we can integrate the data from your current sales and marketing tools and give you insight into your company’s unique sales cycle.