With commoditization of marketing channels (search, social, display, etc) within handful of platforms - paid marketing de facto became a commodity. Not to say there is nothing to do in marketing anymore, but getting first leads though might be costly, it is not the main challenge.
Doing first sales on the hand is something of an art. There is no real playbook on how to do it right. It is all experimentation. The only real thing those one must keep in mind is how does it take to iterate through the process to get better economics. However, there are couple ways startups attack the problem:
Collect leads from landing pages / outbound campaigns
Web sales pitch/ demo product on dummy numbers
Progress with 2nd /3rd demo / close interested accounts
The only thing really changed in last several year is the segmentation of sales into a "henry ford process". Nowadays marketing people being responsible for generating sales qualifying (SQL) and initial demos while account managers (AM) doing the closing process and some time customer success (CS), bigger firm separate CS into separate departments.
But even with segmentation of S&M into factory-like machine, going through the funnel for enterprises is a highly lengthy process with up to 12-24 months.
Sales ready approach:
Sell the one simple pain point and shortly explain you will remove it before collecting them as a lead.
Demo product on real customer data to show customer' buy-in gain to engage them and gain trust
close interested accounts
Building the buy-in demo usually means achieving:
- zero delay in setup costs
- using real customer's data
- getting wow factor with visualization
- almost instantaneous untaped $ opportunity / saved costs for customer
All of this result in changing the paradigm shift from exploring to wanting your product and significantly shortening sales cycles. Reducing sales cycles even few months can mean upto several percertages of captable when counting expensive enterprise sales reps and might reduce the need to raise seed extension.
Both are proven sales models and still employ traditional approach, SRP though takes a bit longer to develop the sales ready product before you can sell it, it pays off as you scale.
- Sales ready product, by Sequoia