The majority of B2B startups secure their first customers via the founder’s personal networks of:
- Ex-client contacts from former companies
- Ex-colleagues from former companies
- Family & friends
Simply put, these are key advocates who are willing to take a chance on an unknown entity based on little more than a logo, a templated website, and a well-crafted story – purely on the basis of their relationship with the founder.
But why is it like this? Why can’t B2B startups secure business with their ideal clients from the get-go?
Winning clients in B2B on a limited budget and when no one knows who you are… is TOUGH.
Let’s consider just how tough it is:
According to research from the highly respected Ehrenberg-Bass institution, only 5% of B2B buyers will be in the market for a given product or service at any one time.
Think about that for a second...
That means 95% of the people you are trying to call, email or socially sell to are not ready to buy.
This highlights the true scale of the challenge for startups to gain even a toehold in a market in the short term.
In light of this, perhaps it is not so surprising that utilising friendly contacts to build trust in your brand through testimonials and word-of-mouth referrals is the right short-term play for startups, to give you the oxygen to survive and grow into your harsh new marketplaces.