The single most important thing for building businesses is to generate the right type of traction at the right time. A lot of conventional advice relies on ways to build traction that you don’t fully control. From our experience, semi-automated outbound outreach is unfairly good for generating many sorts of traction. So take our hands, and we walk you through the following things:
- Why traction is important at every stage
- What’re some conventional ways to get traction
- How to do better than the conventional way
Let’s get into this! It’s important to build traction at every stage!
It is important to build traction in every lifecycle stage of a business. Having great products doesn’t work out if you don’t get momentum. That’s no secret. A typical, good path starts with identifying the right problem. You have a hypothesis for something that is worth solving for a certain audience. You need to start talking to the right people to validate the hypothesis. That’s the problem stage.
Nice, congratulations you have a problem now! Finding a good solution is the next step. Attention! Don’t jump into action without validating your solution. The water may look deep on the surface, but maybe it’s just a flat puddle. If you found a promising solution, talk to people and get feedback! Your idea may seem promising in your eyes, but it’s always better to get more perspectives.
The third stage is the Sales Stage. You have settled on a solution and now want to make revenue. You know the audience, the problem, and the solution, but they don’t know you. So you need to reach them. Only spies remain calm! : Next to problem-solution fit, timing is essential for many sales transactions. So you need to reach the right people at the right time.
Once your business is growing you want to hire the right people. This is similar to stage 3. People don’t know you and timing is important for a “transaction to happen”. So go and look for employees!
For our software development business, we already went through all 4 stages. Maybe we will discover a fifth stage, then we will update this article and send an update email!
Our main learning is that you need to be in control of generating traction! Let’s play Sherlock and investigate some of the conventional ways that doesn’t work:
Waiting for traction to happen when you need it:
What you do → You post a problem in audience-related forums and wait for replies to validate
What happens → Most posts get 0 replies and some get a few. Yeahi, but… A lot of those replies are irrelevant. Maybe every 100th problem goes viral, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other 99 problems are not worth pursuing.
What you do → You create different landing pages describing variants of the solution and run Google Ads to capture people who search for solutions to the problem.
What happens: You get some amount of email sign-ups for high CPC. You can A/B test different options, some have better CPC. Still, samples are usually not statistically significant, so the experiment is a weak indicator at best.
What you do → You create a website and use your network to get the first sales. If the first customers are happy you expect referrals for new customers and at some point SEO will kick in too.
What happens → After doing a few sales through the network, nothing happens. Neither referrals nor SEO kicks in, and you are sitting around waiting for something to happen. #boring
What you do → You post great job ads on Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, and all the other famous portals so that people looking for a job can find you
What happens → You get a lot of applications, but there is no fit. You are not in control of who applies, and you are left waiting for the right people to apply. Now let’s move on:
Build traction: what works better than the conventional way:
For us, this is the holy grail. It’s about building targeted, semi-automated outbound pipelines with an improving hit ratio over time. Wow, that sounds cool guys! But… what does this mean?
It means: you can control the traction at every stage. If you need more? Go get it. You are in control to generate more. And this traction brings you to the next stage. Enough of promising show us your approach! Alright, let’s deconstruct our outbound activity to build traction.
You’re initially triggering the conversation. Channels in our case are LinkedIn and E-Mail. For all stages and both channels, we rely on the rich targeting options of LinkedIn Sales Navigator and LinkedIn Recruiter. It’s incredible how precise you can segment the people you need. Contrary to paid ads you have immediate feedback on your segmentation as you see the profiles that you will contact right away. No more black-box targeting and day-long feedback loops that you might remember from performance marketing.
The outreach is semi-automated. We’re not sending every email or connection request manually. We send out relevant messages in batches to the different segments. If you do it right, it works out astonishingly well! Trust us, you will need a process to handle the responses. Include classification based on relevance and reply snippets with automated call-booking. You can also do questionnaires to better qualify the audience or a connection before bringing it into your CRM or ATS Tool. Sounds awesome right?
This pipeline enables you to:
- Schedule problem-discovery interview with people in your audience
- Once you know which problem you go for, find more of the same kind of people and discuss different solutions
- When have a solution, offer and sell it to people on a scale
- Once the revenue grows, use the same approach for hiring the right people to grow the business
With this pipeline, you always feel in control. You can adjust quantity and quality! If response rates are low, you can just increase the outreach number. If the responses are irrelevant, you can readjust the targeting from one second to the next. When you find your ideal customer profiles, use them to generate an even better hit ratio through reverse engineering those profiles. Furthermore, it’s quite affordable – Even with some manual work and tooling, the costs are way lower than for performance marketing.
There will be a walkthrough showing the exact steps, tools, and best practices, soon! Stay updated and subscribe!