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How Startups Find Their Best Customers

Carter Headley

Carter Headley

Read Time: 2 minutes

Sourcing your next great customer could take minutes instead of days.  With tools that let you save searches for your ideal customer profile and passively feed you highly qualified new leads, your whole sourcing process can be put on autopilot.  The key to a process like this is recognizing not just what kind of companies you care about, but when you care about them, and when they're likely to care about you.  

Enter event-driven sourcing

First, define a set of criteria for companies that have a business case for your product. For example:

  • Geography – Specifying countries, states, or cities, can help you narrow your list.
  • Headcount - At what company size does the pain your solving resonate?
  • Funding Total - Venture backed companies may have greater purchasing power
  • Tech Stack - Are there specific technologies the company must be using to feel the pain you're solving?

Next, find a reason to reach out to them. There are often key events in a company's journey when your product or service will be especially helpful or useful.  Having your team define these events will leave you with a great sales strategy - to execute you just need a way to be alerted when these events occur.  For example:

  • New Funding Announced – if a company on your target list recently raised a round, they likely have budget to spend to hit their product and revenue goals.
  • New Hire – If your product is generally purchased by someone of a specific title, reach out whenever a company  on your ideal customer list hires that title. There are tools out there that help you do this (see below).
  • Headcount Growth – Teams that are rapidly growing in headcount are also likely rapidly expanding their tech stack. If your product is billed per-seat, utilizing headcount growth rates is a great way to ensure your revenue is growing with your customers.
  • New tool in tech stack – With each new tool a company adds, new problems and pains emerge. If your product solves these pains, utilize new tech as a buying signal.
  • Mutual Investor – Your investors want to see you succeed, and asking them for intros to portfolio companies that are a good fit for your product is an opportunity for them to directly support your growth.
  • Job Postings – If a company on your target customers list is making a hire, they're saying they have a $100K+ problem that they have a budget to solve. If you sell a service that could assist (or replace) a certain job, reach out to the customer before they make that hire!

Companies evolve every day, and those who are not an ideal fit today may raise a new round, make a key hire, or grow so they need YOU to solve an emerging problem. To set your sales team up for success you need to put this alerting on autopilot, so you can reach out to your ideal customers, at the right time.

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