Acquiring the 71st client should be easier than acquiring the 12th. Not only because between your 12th and 71st client you actually know what you’re doing, have a CRM, salespeople and sales process. The reason should be a consciously developed portfolio. In the beginning, you should focus on a narrow market niche. Paypal’s niche was 1800 power sellers on eBay. For Uber – people using limousines in San Francisco. Casbeg’s niche is small and medium entrepreneurs in Poland. Even iTaxi recently focuses on B2B rides. Being a big fish in a small pond isn’t an approach limited to services companies – it works for every company.
Once we narrow our target down, we focus our limited resources (in young companies resources always are limited) on the initial group of clients. This means that with each sales conversation we develop our knowledge about a particular industry, country, company’s size and the decision maker. A side effect – with little money, but the considerable effort of a few people, market recognition can be generated in a particular niche.
Additional profits appear during cooperation. Small companies cannot afford to serve many clients. If they focus on one type of client, with time they learn how to, more precisely and with greater reliability, meet their needs. Feedback from 50 similar clients is so much more useful than feedback from 5 different groups, each of 10 companies. All of it will affect how long your clients stay with you. Retention of clients is crucial for profitability, growth and word of mouth referrals. Everything that you are going to achieve will come easier with a group of happy clients, eager to recommend you – it isn’t possible without retention.
In B2B companies the most salient issue is business results – pleased paying clients. If you have pleased paying clients, start preparing case studies and do it fast. Don’t forget to focus on Sinatra tests either. If we can show 3 case studies, we can show our credibility. When we have 3 case studies of similar companies we have a strong social proof. With documented success come clients purchasing a little quicker, more and more often.
At this moment we aren’t famous. There is a long way to go before having a great market recognition. But we already took the most challenging first step. We are on our way to being industry experts. If we stay disciplined and work with clients from a narrow niche, with 10 case studies eventually we will be experts. And we can influence neighboring industries and similar, but not identical, clients. If we sold to startups, we would have inquiries from IT companies. If we sold to doctors – dentists and pharmacists would start asking about us.
It is impossible to build a big business on a small market. But each big business starts with a small group of similar clients who love paying for their services. The basic mistake of young companies is lack of consistency, discipline and focus on sales and marketing.
The first lesson for beginners is unintuitive – to be global, start locally. When you have 7 clients, planning to acquire the next 120 doesn’t make sense. Focus on the next 3.
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