Idea and business plan are available, the startup is founded shortly thereafter. Developers perfect the software, the team grows and the investor funds secure the financing. The capital puts the young entrepreneurs in the development of their product. However, it should not be on the market until it is perfect.
One thing is still missing in this supposedly well thought-out business procedure: the customers. The reason? While the founders focused on the business plan, product development and capital search in the first few months, they neglected sales. Marketing and customer acquisition? None. The consequence: missing sales.
Sales as the key to first customers
“Do not focus on sales – a mistake many startups are still making,” says Waldemar Wegener. The managing director of VR EASY founded his own company in 2012 and has been offering virtual reality solutions ever since: roaming the dream property online, trying out the beaches while booking a holiday, or taking a look at the company headquarters before applying for a job Innovation possible. Wegener kept an eye on sales and the many associated customer processes right from the start when developing its business model. “Of course everyone wants to grow fast. But you must not neglect sales, “says the founder of the Uckermark. “After all, that’s the most important interface to gaining customers – and ultimately making money”.
The German Startup Monitor 2018 shows that the right sales strategy is one of the biggest hurdles for startups. Almost 55 percent of the surveyed founders stated that sales and customer acquisition was their biggest challenge. “” Often, start-ups want to perfect their ideas before they dare to market, “says Matthias Schievelbusch, head of startup cooperation at Telekom. “But even the most innovative product does not sell itself. Why not do a pilot project with a customer and develop the product together? The customer usually knows best what’s wrong with him”.
New distribution channels through cooperation
At the beginning, founder Josef Scheiber paid too much attention to the development of his startup BioVariance, an analysis service for personalized medicine. “But then I realized that it is important to work with a specific customer and to work with him to further develop the project.” His tip: “Better to bring the product onto the market quickly and further develop it afterwards.”
He also benefited from partnerships. As a member of Telekom’s TechBoost program, which promotes startups with a digital business model, he receives support in sales and marketing. “In addition to IT resources, we provide founders with contacts in our network,” says Schievelbusch. “This offers startups enormous potential: our business customers are waiting for digital innovations from founders – because good ideas make even better businesses grow.”
Simon Tschürtz also broke his head over the right distribution strategy at the beginning of the founding period. “This is a real challenge for us”, says the founder of the startup 100 words of speech analysis. “Good that we can rely on partnerships for the topic, including Telekom”.
Not a single case in the industry: According to a study by PwC, 40 percent of startups focus on cooperation, especially in terms of distribution, in order to develop new ways to acquire customers. “” Through Telekom’s TechBoost program we have already been able to make many new contacts with potential customers or Tying investors, for example, at trade fairs or other events of the Telekom “says Tschürtz. “Such collaborations are simply worth gold for startups because they open distribution channels that you would never have found”.
Also published on Medium.