You’re a start-up that just landed a major contract. You hired staff to fulfill it and gained other six-figure customers. You believe you have product-market fit and want to expand.
Growing Your Startup
Your plan is to hire a Chief Sales Officer (CSO), Sales Development Reps (SDR), and a marketing specialist. You’ll onboard the CSO first to then hire and train the SDRs.
Your target market is defined and you have collateral and a testimonial from your big new customer. At first, it seems you’re ready for growth this quarter. But not so fast.
Most sales so far relied on the founder’s network and board connections. This group helped achieve product-market fit, an important short-term goal. But to scale sustainably, you can’t rely solely on this small network whose needs may not represent the broader customer base.
Scaling requires systematically identifying, qualifying and educating prospects with no prior affiliation. This involves fully understanding the customer journey to guide complete strangers to become buyers.
Customer Journey Steps
Before hiring, map out your ideal customer profile, detailing target demographics, pain points and motivations. Analyze what drove early adopters. Document the typical decision cycle and concerns at each stage:
Awareness: Realizing they have a problem but don’t know solutions yet. Doing general research.
Consideration: Identifying solutions and evaluating options, comparing features and vendors. Wanting detailed information.
Decision: Ready to make a purchase decision and negotiate details like pricing and contracts. Needing reassurance.
Implementation: Purchased and deploying the solution. Needing integration support.
Loyalty: Using the solution and wanting more value. Opportunity for up-sells.
This mapping allows your sales team to systematically replicate success by guiding prospects through each stage. With planning beforehand, you can scale smoothly while delivering an excellent customer experience.