In our last post we looked at our journey to date. For this and future posts we’ll be looking forward and detailing our on-going progress – a living, breathing account of the birth and growth of a bootstrapped B2B tech startup.
As of today, January 4th, 2022 our MVP (sales recruitment technology focused on the unique requirements of the first sales hire of B2B tech founders) is in development in the Ukraine. The underlying assessment instrument was developed and tested in 2021 and the productised version due for release in March of this year.
Much of the past two weeks was spent with wireframes and design concepts with a view to handing over to coding in the next week or so. Doubtless, and even though we’ve outsourced the development project, the development track will absorb significant cycles over the coming months, not least when it comes to UAT.
That aside, what do we do until our product is available? Here are the top of mind categories:
We formed The Right Five to address the first Sales hire of B2B tech founders so our target market was pretty well set from the outset. That said, we continually challenge it and focus as much as possible.
Not B2C – our expertise in developing the assessment is all B2B based. It may work in B2C, we just don’t know yet. Our focus on where we spend our marketing budget is, therefore, B2B.
Geography – the assessment is only available in English at this point so proactively we will only go after English speaking markets.
Tech – not car leasing firms, for example, for the same reason as B2C.
B2B tech founders making their first sales hire suggests between 3 and 7 employees (when using industry employee data) and we can generate an available market figure of 230,000 English speaking B2B tech companies with between 3 and 7 employees. Trust me, the data are out there.
Route to market
230,000 B2B tech companies to go after. How do we do it? Good question.
There are two broad paths to take, partner-led and direct (or some combination of the two).
For us, and while we’re still pre-product launch, a partner approach with another tech player is too early. A partner approach with a recruitment firm focused on startups may be worth exploring with a view to having something in place for March?
Action – explore recruitment firms as potential partners.
Going to market direct is a well-trodden path and the most obvious route for most startups. I still wonder if there are aggregation points out there, i.e. places we can go with many prospective customers for us. University commercialisation groups are one but may be too early for us. Angel investors are a better bet. They’ve invested early and supported businesses through the founder-led sales stage and should be good candidates for that first Sales hire.
Action – explore angel networks as potential aggregation points.
Somewhat regardless of the success with a partner/aggregation point, we need to devise a plan to market to our available target market.
Creating awareness can be achieved both through paid ads and organically. As a bootstrapped company and still pre-product, we’re a little premature for investing in paid ads. However, we can build up a thought leadership position and increase our search engine rankings.
This blog plays to both of these. We can further drive traffic to the blog and increase awareness by engaging with others and adding value to conversations on LinkedIn.
Action – set up searches on LinkedIn to identify conversations around first Sales hire, network and add value to those conversations.
Other categories which are top of mind right now include:
- Website development
- Volume growth/pricing/business model
- Customer on-boarding
- Instrument development
We’ll discuss these and provide an update on our three actions above in part 3 of this series.