A fund manager at a new fund that invests heavily in early stage companies just asked me what I know about tracking early sales pipeline. Write2Market, my marketing & PR agency, is recognized by Hubspot as among the Top 10 Agencies for Start Ups.
Obviously there’s no cookie cutter answer to this question, but looking at the start ups I see doing this better vs. those I see struggling more, here’s what I’ve observed.
Getting the “big picture” on marketing: dashboarding
For services firms and ones that don’t have software hooks, setting up events in Google Analytics is really effective, low cost, and creates a clear track to see expressions of interest and requests for proposals, SOWs, etc.
In this situation, the startup can take the “outputs” of the Google events and make a dashboard that’s easy to see some key “indicator” stats. We use Gecko or Cyfe for clients–Cyfe is what we’re using inhouse too. Most founding teams just want the one-page snapshot and that’s what these provide.
After demos/sales presentations, one of the easiest tools to implement that we use with startups is PipeDrive. It is sort of a pre-Salesforce. Doesn’t need any coding, but you can create a funnel. Everyone talks about the CRMs like Marketo or Hubspot or Pardot, but they are all extremely heavy lifting for a young company. We find the price to be tough a bit steep for early-stage, too.
The most important sales “tool” is a process
Interestingly, the MOST critical thing I see the contributes the MOST to positive pipeline is having a regular weekly sales meeting.
No kidding–so many young companies expect they can”glide path” everything with tech, but the BEST tool can often be a very strong meeting rhythm.
In the “stupid tools that really work” category, I recommend the free Citrix conference call app,Convoi. It comes with a free number that you can use and share right away, without the need for conference numbers to be added after dialing the number. I always about wreck my car entering those long codes at 70 mph. So–no more of that. What is also cool about Convoi is that it has a dial OUT option, so perfect if you want to do a daily huddle and have everyone on the call. Schedule ‘when’ and the app will get everyone on the line!
What are your fav tools for start up and early stage sales optimization? Always love those tips. Drop by and share them in person at one of our Atlanta marketing events.