The purpose of any business is to find customers and solve their problems. In the last few years, we have seen an enormous rise in the number of startups. However, many startups and founders are increasingly finding it challenging to market and sell their products. We asked Narayanan, ex-Head of Marketing and Sales at Pickyourtrail, a few questions on Twitter to understand how sales and marketing work in the early stages of a company.  The following blog is an extract and observation from the AMA. We continue to make more AMA’s on startups’ topics, from marketing, sales to community building. You can follow our founder and Habitate Twitter page to participate in the conversations.

Get all possible free channels up and running as soon as possible.

While this statement may seem obvious, many startups in their early stages overlook free channels where they could mention their products or services. This approach includes networking with journalists, using barter with influencers, and, more importantly, good word of mouth from customers. Not to mention SEO ( search engine optimization ) is one of the zero-marketing budgets tactics. It takes time to build authority in SEO, so we recommend investing your time as early as possible.

Sales have to be structured, and process-driven from the word go.

Sales with and without process explained using fruit comics
Sales cycle chaos theory

It is common for founders or the initial team not to depend on tools and processes, but that’s a big mistake. The mistake will certainly bite back later. A sales process is a set of repeatable steps that a salesperson takes a prospective customer from the early awareness to deal closure. Making use of tools will help the team streamline this process and collect the performance data. Not to mention, a good tool will save you plenty of time and improve efficiency. Marketing is building awareness of your organization and brand to potential customers, also known as making the funnel. Sales are about turning the audience into users.

Typical sales process:

1. Finding prospects

2. Qualifying them

3. Making contact

4. Pitching

5. Handling objections

6. Closing the deal

7. Retaining

How to find customers with zero marketing budget?

Simple: By selling without selling. Turn customers into advocates, and there is a journey that a customer follows. Using Pravid Shekar’s words, a visitor ⏭ user ⏭ fan ⏭ an influencer ⏭ the buyer ⏭ super promoter ⏭ advocate. Narayanan follows the same principle at Nithya Karma, a personal assistant to learn Slokas, where he managed to turn many customers into advocates. Even in the case of Pickyourtraill, they had the benefit of influencers talking about their services before becoming customers.

Pickyourtrail - India’s biggest online D-I-Y holiday booking platform.
Tweet from Jennifer Kristin Strout. She says she can attest to the hotness of Habitate. Whatever issues you have with slack or fb groups, this solution solves them all
Jennifer from MotivateU tweeting their experience about Habitate

What role does community play in GTM? (Go-to-marketing)

The journey of a user to advocate is community building. Building community is now an essential part of a marketing plan. It is the most underestimated part of marketing, and if you haven’t started already, you are late! Start now.

Share this post