How to Get Your First Customers | Startup School

    No Free Trials in B2B Sales

    In B2B sales, offering a money-back guarantee is preferred over providing free trials. This approach entails charging customers upfront but allowing them to get a refund if they are not satisfied within a specified period, such as 30 or 60 days. Additionally, companies should give customers the option to opt out of an annual contract and pay monthly instead to increase customer trust and uptake.


    Sales Funnel and Conversion Rates

    Understanding your sales funnel and tracking the conversion rates at each stage is vital to gauge the effectiveness of your sales strategy. Founders must be aware that there will be drop-offs at each step of the funnel and must track these diligently to project how many outreach efforts are necessary to secure the desired number of paying customers.


    Importance of an Adequate Outreach Volume

    Startups often misunderstand sales performance due to an inadequate volume of outreach. Drawing conclusions about the effectiveness of sales without substantial data can lead to false assumptions. Sufficient outreach is necessary to gather data that accurately reflects conversion rates and informs whether the sales strategies employed are working or in need of adjustment.


    Using Sales CRM Software

    The use of a sales CRM software is recommended to keep track of conversion rates automatically. These tools can help manage customer relationships effectively, ensure that the necessary follow-ups are made, and provide valuable insights into the sales process, which ultimately aids in making data-driven decisions.


    Early Sales Efforts

    Early-stage startups should focus on activities that may not scale, such as personalized outreach and founder-led sales demos. Successful sales in the beginning phases often result from direct founder engagement and understanding customer pain points through one-on-one interactions.


    The Importance of Non-Scalable Actions

    Early-stage startups have to do things that don't scale to succeed, such as manually recruiting customers and learning from interactions with them.


    Founder's Role in Early Sales

    Founders should take on initial sales roles to understand their customers and their problems, which is essential for the startup's success.


    Visualizing the Startup Curve

    The 'startup curve' represents the typical startup journey, from launch to the 'trough of sorrow,' 'wiggles of false hope,' and eventually, product-market fit.


    Brex Case Study

    Brex founders' approach to acquiring early users by offering a simple and targeted value proposition to Y Combinator startups.


    Crafting Effective Sales Emails

    Effective sales emails are short, clear, and include a problem statement, social proof, and a call to action.


    Understanding the Sales Funnel

    The sales funnel is a straightforward concept that guides founders from prospecting to closing a sale and includes post-sale onboarding.


    Prioritizing Sales Efforts

    Startups should prioritize their sales efforts by targeting easy customers, using their network, and focusing on other startups as they have shorter decision-making processes.


    Importance of Charging Customers

    Charging customers validates the product's value, provides actionable market feedback, and should not be avoided out of fear of rejection.