Love it or hate it business development is something that every entrepreneur has to tackle early on in their start up journey. It can be exhilarating and can be a total nightmare at different points of time.
Mr Adhip Poudyal gave some really useful advice on business development and sales from his personal experience of running his company Kullabs. Here we go
“Considering the cost of acquiring a new customer is five times higher than retaining an old one, it seems logical to retain an existing customer.”
1. Have a strong social media/online presence.
Social media plays an important role to make people aware of your business and product/service especially if you are small business with frugal budget. Use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn is an easy way to create a buzz and make your presence known to potential customers. Do this by
- By posting customer testimonials
- Sharing pictures of your business partner
- Showcasing your companies events and programs
2. Leads may not necessarily convert to purchase
Low influx of customers is a common phenomenon for startups. Whenever a potential customer gets in touch with a startup, they expect them to be a paying one. The chances are that they might be just inquiring about the product, or comparing it to the competitors. When the potential customer doesn’t make the purchase, many founders feel disappointed. Instead of being disheartened, founders should focus on the positive aspect that their product/service is getting noticed.
3. Don’t push your product
Start-up entrepreneurs are eager to make a sale which is justifiable. However they end up pushing the customers too hard to buy their product. This causes frustration to the founder and negative brand image in customer’s mind. Adjusting your expectation is the way to go while making a sales pitch
4. After sales service and engagement
Often the most ignored aspect of the sale cycle is post-sale customer service. Often startups forget this part which is very vital for customer retention. Considering the cost of acquiring a new customer is five times higher than retaining an old one, it seems logical to retain an existing customer. One of the powerful marketing techniques for customer acquisition is word of mouth and the major determinants to it is bad or complete absence of after sale service. After sales service and engagement can include:
- Informing customers of current product upgradation
- Introducing them to a new product in the same category
- Providing add on features
- Connecting them through events
- Using testimonials of the customers and promoting them on social media
- Thanking them for being early adopters and testing the product
- Including customers in the feedback process
5. Create customer segmentation
Before launching the product, you should study your customers and learn about their characteristics. This will help you create a robust marketing strategy to appeal and cater to their exact needs of your customers.
6. Personalize your customer experience
One of the key for retaining an existing customer is providing them a personalized experience which large companies cannot provide. The social interaction will make the customer experience more meaningful and they will remember your company. You can do this by simply acknowledging them with a simple ‘Namaste’ or ‘Hello’ if you come across them in a non-business environment or weaving some personal detail from previous interaction in your current conversation or using their testimonial on social media.
7. Collecting Payments for your product and service
In B2B sale interaction, business owners usually get acquainted with each other and converse on friendly terms. Following up on payments can become a little awkward for you in such situations or the client asking for additional discounts to settle the bill which can cause a strain in your personal relationship. Such situation can be dealt by
- Dropping the invoice at the clients office which will look more professional rather than personal phone call to remind about the payment
- Getting an employee or a colleague to follow up on the payments on your behalf.
- You can offload the post sales transaction on an employee and inform the client that your team would follow up on payments to avoid all the mayhem altogether
8. Choose the right competition/training to participate in
Startup competition, incubation, accelerator, grants are currently booming in Nepal. And each event can seem like a wonderful opportunity that cannot be missed. Hence many start-ups and businesses apply to all kinds of events and loose valuable time that could have been otherwise used for building their business. Entrepreneurs should be choosy and be absolutely clear on what they need from the opportunity whether its money, knowledge or network.
9. Be present at the right conference and event
Networking at conferences and events can open many doors and bring in strategic partners, potential customers and investors for your business. It also ensures that your product is known in the right circles. Knowing which one to get involved in and which one to avoid is the key to use your valuable time more effectively. You can use the below parameters to pick the right event for yourself
- Availability of the potential and existing customers
- Scale and impact of the program
- Probability of networking with the target audience you have in mind
- Will you be able partners and collaborators in the event
Another great way to make your company’s presence felt but will save your time is to send employees, friends, co-workers to represent your business.
Do you have any great advice that you learned from experience of running a business? Let us know in the comments section.
About the Resource Person.
Adhip Poudyal is the founder and executive director of KULLABS, an online learning technology platform. He has been awarded ICT Startup Award 2016 and was the winner of Idea Studio High Flying Idea, 2018. He was also one of the 10 startups selected for Google Business Group stories 2018.
This blog is excerpts from the training session conducted by Adhip Poudyal on B2B marketing is part of the BLincubator series that is published each week. It summarizes key learning from the training sessions of the program.