Social Media Marketing (aka “the Morass”)
Most members of this site sell their products and services B2B (Business to Business), which naturally fits into a qualitative problem-solution sales process. Even so, it would be a mistake to assume that social media marketing, with its intensive focus on influencing consumer behavior, does not apply. In fact, the social media giants (Facebook, Google) can provide many opportunities to communicate with and influence most B2B buyers. For example, once a business buyer visits your site, Facebook can insert your message into other sites they visit (retargeting). This alone is a good reason to investigate how social media marketing can contribute to your outbound marketing efforts.
Finding quality guidance in this area is difficult. Few of the alleged gurus have the quantitative analysis skills necessary to construct, test and continually improve campaign results. Gavin Bell is one expert who does understand these issues and communicates them clearly. The free YouTube videos below demonstrate his quantitative approach and are sufficient to get you started. Find him at MrGavinBell.com.
Disciplined Entrepreneurship by Bill Aulet. An academic approach to starting a company in 24 easy steps. Broader scope than SalesDev.Global, this book starts at the very beginning and assumes you have not decided what kind of product you want to sell.
Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore. Explains the fundamental differences between Early Adopter buyers and the Majority, and how to cross the chasm between them. Applicable to most tech products.
The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen. An absolute classic about why big companies have trouble with innovation, and how small upstarts can beat them. Even former startups that have grown large fall into the big company traps described here.
Mastering the Complex Sale by Jeff Thull. Succinctly explains why enterprise sales has gotten so difficult, and what to do about it.
Podcasts and Video
This Week in Startups: Angel investor Jason Calacanis has recorded more than 1000 episodes of this podcast featuring founders, serial entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors and other active participants in the startup ecosystem. The focus is on funding and growing internet companies, but the discussion ranges far and wide across startup topics. Highly recommended. Available on all podcast apps and at YouTube and ThisWeekInStartups.
Silicon Valley on HBO: One of the funniest satires of all time, even if you are not interested in startups. But if you are growing a company, particularly a venture funded startup, watch a few episodes. Bill Gates says, “You really should watch it, because they don’t make any more fun of us than we deserve.”
Startup.com (on YouTube): Intimate documentary from 2001 about the founders of GovWorks.com, a startup that collapsed with many others during the dot com crash. Many relevant lessons to be learned here. One of the founders, who founded several other publicly traded companies, was convicted of multiple counts of financial fraud in 2017. Perhaps the most important lesson is contained in that later part of the story.
Other Useful Web Sites:
TheHardwareAcademy.com: A membership site run by the founder of PredictableDesigns.com, John Teel. Useful advice, training and support community for hardware entrepreneurs. If you develop hardware and sometimes get the feeling that all the attention gets paid to software and apps, you will find hardware fellowship and value here.
The 10 Best Startup Articles on the Web
How Superhuman Built an Engine to Find Product/Market Fit by Rahul Vohra. Lots of people talk about Product Market Fit. This article from 2019 describes a repeatable method to find it using (surprise!) customer data.
Y Combinator Guide to Raising Your Series A: published in 2020, this covers every aspect of preparing for your raise, contacting and pitching investors and negotiating the deal.
Why Build, Measure, Learn – isn’t just throwing things against the wall to see if they work – the Minimal Viable Product and An MVP is not a Cheaper Product, It’s about Smart Learning by Steve Blank. Two blog entries that explain the origin and evolution of the MVP by one of the originators of the Lean movement.
Sorry, Steve, Here’s Why Apple Stores Won’t Work. Published in Business Week magazine (remember magazines?) the week before the first Apple Store opened. Epic example of analyst wrongthink. Apple stores have the highest sales per square foot in the history of retail. May your critics be just as wrong!
Fundraising & Pitch Decks
The internet abounds with resources to help with your investor pitch. Some of the best resources on the web are:
- Brad Feld’s Advice on Raising Capital: A successful early-stage VC for decades, Brad Feld is known for being founder-friendly and technically astute. His book Venture Deals is the single best resource available on term sheets and venture finance mechanics.
- 50Folds Pitch Deck Collection: more than 130 pitch decks from startups that successfully raised VC money.
- Fred Wilson’s AVC blog: Thousands of relevant insights. Subscribe and read a couple a week.
- 25 Epic, Must-Read Blog Posts About Fundraising: Perhaps the best single web resource for fundraising.
- VC Lingo: Excellent new video series by SOSV explaining every detail and nuance of term sheets. If you are not 100% certain about the meaning of pro rata rights, anti-dilution clauses, full ratchets and the gotchas of option pools, this is a great place to start.