Midven Investment Manager Giovanni Finocchio has extensive sales and marketing experience within the SME environment, having held business development and marketing roles in five early stage businesses that were VC and business angel funded and will be sharing his views on a range of sales and marketing related issues faced by early stage and fast growing SMEs.
Question: Now that I’ve raised investment, I want to start marketing – where do I begin?
Answer: It’s not as straightforward a question as you think!
You might expect that the business will have convinced its investors that it thoroughly understands its market and knows how to exploit the opportunity; but markets are constantly evolving and changing and businesses raise money at different stages of their evolution, for example very often early stage technology businesses haven’t fully considered or engaged in commercial activity.
So the starting point is to make sure you’ve done your research. You really need to understand the market, particularly in terms of your potential customers.
- What they currently use/buy?
- What is my product or service trying to replace?
- Is my product a brand new concept without a direct competitor?
- If there’s an existing product in use, what works well for the customer/what doesn’t?
- What do the customers like about their current supplier?
- How much has the customer invested in the competitor’s product/service, both financially and operationally? (The greater the investment made by the customer the more difficult it is to displace the competitor!)
- How important is the price?
These are many of questions that the sales and marketing function must answer before you can put together a comprehensive go-to-market strategy.
As a marketer you really do need to do your research and in detail; all too often the research carried out is too high level. The good news is that there is plenty of information out there from a variety of sources – the internet, in trade journals, at trade shows, on social media and by talking to people and companies in the industry.
You need to make a list of what you need to know in order to create your go to market plan and then go out and find it – the sooner the better before you waste more time and money!