Scaling First Revenue: Core Customers.

You closed your first customers, all friendlies who you worked with for the past 15-18 months to refine the product (so much for your “three months sales cycle from GA to bookings – that was easy!”). So who’s next?

You can categorize your prospects into three categories:

  1. Core (Hunt): This is the category where you actively hunt and spend $$ for customer acquisition.
  2. Near-Core (Farm): You evaluate and qualify inbound interest based on your (micro) landing portals and messaging. They want exactly what you are selling, with no or little additional bells and whistles. They are not core to your customer hypothesis but you take them occasionally.
  3. Outfield (Prostitute): No. You’re not doing it. Time is usually a much more scarce resource than money in startups.  You might want to think about potential lessons-learned, evaluating new markets or geographies, experiment with a new feature, or create some cash flow that could give you a longer runway. But these customers are going to pay dearly, often five to twenty times your regular price. If they really want it, they have to pay for it.

Who is Your Core Persona?

If your product would be free, who would pick it up? There should be a demand for “free” for anything. Who is your core persona? Why are they buying it? Is this a chronic pain or an acute pain – vitamin versus antibiotics? What other options do they have?

It’s surprising how many entrepreneurs are rolling their eyes at these questions but don’t have an answer either. Or how often you get their head of sales into the room an suddenly you get two different answers, and one of them goes “wait, what?!  I thought it’s more like ….” Do not gloss over seemingly simple questions. They seem simple because any compelling event should be simple.

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