As everyone knows, launching a business can be daunting. For those who have/are doing it, give yourselves a pat on the back. There is a lot going on, and, undoubtedly, immense pressure to close customers' from the get-go.
Project Farfill came about late 2018, with the usual proceedings of designing logo concepts, getting the team to agree on the name Farfill with substantial content for social and a well polished website.
When we launched the website, our warehouse space had still not been cleared. Our aim was to launch on January 15th 2019, and by the force of nature, we did it!. Our first client dropped off their first batch of products on the 15th of January 2019. It really is amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it.
For a B2B type of business that we run, marketing can be fairly straight forward when you first start out. When someone approached us for advice with the usual initial apprehension, ‘should we start a business?’ Our usual go-to advice is:
- Launch a landing page
- Kick off a Google Ads account
- Start marketing
- Observe traction
- Get people keen and signed up
For next steps, start contacting these potential customers and see what type of interest they have in your product. Note to self: your ads don't have to be overly complex or expensive (dependent how competitive your competition is!).
You can see below our campaign that ran from 11th of November 2018 to launch day 15th of January 2019.
In that space of time we had 100 leads email in from the 765 that clicked the ad. That's around a 13% return, costing us $4.25 per lead, not too shabby eh?
Sales, Sales, Sales: somebody ring that bell!
Our sales ‘team’ consisted merely of one individual prior to launch. Our first lead came in a couple of days after we started our Google Ads campaign. Already, it was clear which adjustments needed to be made. Tweaked our form a few days later to allow people to write text in the form vs just choosing from a drop down.
Initiation time! We called and emailed leads with qualifying questions, if they sounded compelling enough, we put them on our hit list. Pointing out the obvious, but using the right tools will really help you be more methodical, ultimately making your life a lot easier. Also, news flash, you don't need a full on CRM to kick things off. Start using tags inside your email client or simple plugins. We started out using Mixmax which was really useful for setting up calls and general follow ups.
Don't be discouraged if your leads don't pan out. The likelihood is that most of them don’t, the sales lead time will always vary depending on the product. If we’re being completely transparent, our closing time at Farfill is considerably higher than other B2B industries.
It was well and truly a benefit that our closing time took longer. Our warehouse was not ready till January and we were only just in talks with people back in November, it’s like they say, preparation is key. As time pressed on, only getting closer to launch time, we asked ourselves the common question: ‘how does one get someone to trust you over your competitors?’ considering we had only just launched. Eek!
Alas, the decision was made to offer our services for free till April 2020, entirely appropriate we believed. It was fundamental that we felt comfortable enough with what we were actually doing as opposed to ‘faking it until we made it’. It allowed us to get in customers' through the door, learning to deal with multiple customers across multiple product categories, and essentially to build trust
Pitch, get it right!
You might say, the key component to every business. Every pitch requires a deck which needs to be straight forward, easy to read and visually clear for the potential client. Holding all the information necessary for the customer, down to the nitty-gritty: the pricing! We quickly learned that competitors did not share pricing freely back then, ‘I mean, how dare they?’
They would keep it exclusive and priced accordingly to a customer that comes in. ‘Shock horror, hold the front page.’ Just remember people, ABT, always be transparent with what you are selling, people buy from people, you are always more likely to close by being honest.
To no illusion..
By the wise words of Arthur Ashe, ‘success is a journey, not a destination, the doing is often more important than the outcome.’
We have come a long way since the beginning of Project Farfill, we made countless mistakes, bad handling of inbound leads, forgetting to do our ‘follow ups’, yet, it’s all part of the process. When you are a new business, fortunately, it pushes you to think differently, innovative ideas that stand out from all the rest, challenge the status quo to create your ‘niche’. We went with the “give away free services'' and it worked! Simples..
Like mankind, our current sales process is still evolving, we still have a lot more to tinker and learn as we rise through eCommerce fulfilment.
May the force be with all of us..