Startup Sales and Marketing Stack (Tech) — Startup Analytics

“CEOs that build their organisation’s processes, technology and culture around the experience buyers want and value outperform their peers. That starts by aligning sales and marketing, not by resolving differences between them, but by resolving differences between them and the buyer.”

Christine Crandell

One of the most underrated functions but probably the most important one is sales and marketing. This is something I realized when I was exposed as an intern with the Xbox team at Microsoft. Even so, didn’t quite understand for quite some time since I started working in startups.

The typical tech/research background founders completely discount this aspect of the business. It is to the extent that plenty of them happen to get the market wrong or fail to build a sustainable distribution for the business to allow it to take off.

Every business is essentially a product and distribution game. Building the product is basically engineering, research, product management. Moreover getting it to consumers or businesses is basically a sales and marketing combo. The latter is as important because, without a viable strategy and execution, it’s like having a car with no wheels, you are not getting anywhere.

Sales Vs Marketing

Sales is more outbound oriented. In some cases, you might be calling up and trying to convince customers to purchase something. It is also the process of getting these leads/prospects to getting final conversions or deals. Anyone visiting your site can be a potential lead. The process of getting these people to commit and buy something is basically sales.

Why the need for a Stack?

Besides these, you have the actual stack in terms of databases, backend language/framework, frontend framework and machine learning libraries. Similarly, designers rely on Figma and other design tools. Product managers might be using wire-framing tools like Balsamiq over above the others mentioned above.

Similarly, sales and marketing are supposed to have a stack to help organise and streamline their operations. Excel used as the de-facto tool for all business functions. However, the increasing complexity of marketing operations and startup sales funnels has resulted in the need for a more well thought-through approach.

Tool Kit

  • Tracking Tools: Google Analytics, Hotjar, Mix Panel, Segment
  • Email Marketing Automation: Mailchimp
  • Specialised Products: Re-Targeting Softwares(Perfect Audience), Referral Management

The modern-day, marketing function is more science and analytically oriented than the Mad Men days of creative-driven operations. While lots of traditional brick and mortar businesses still operate with traditional paradigms of brand building etc. SAAS and cloud-based startup products have their distribution on the web and need a more numbers-driven approach. At least in the early days, your marketing priority needs to be numbers-driven to get a sense of CAC which is one of the most important SAAS metrics.

To be able to compute this number accurately and further optimise it going forward, not only will we need to track everything accurately but also attribute results aka sales accurately to leads and leads to marketing campaigns.

Why a CRM?

As a data scientist, I cannot emphasise the need for a centralised data lake and maintaining its quality. This is paramount for getting engineering right and there is no need why sales and marketing have to be any different, which as far as I believe is slowly becoming part of the engineering division.

CRM Overview

Contacts

This is the central operations and is basically a repository of all your customers and gives you an ability to track, manage them. Add and edit the basic details and can be thought of as the key to your dictionary.

Marketing Automation

You can also your system to Google Ads and other networks. This is key to be able to organise your campaigns by tracking the users you are hitting. Apparently, ad networks are not that straight forward and you need to track and re-target engaged users to be able to finally convert them.

The ability to run, email campaigns from CRM itself allows you do not to maintain separate accounts like Mailchimp which unfortunately are quite limited in functionality.

Notes & Documentation

I haven’t set it up in my case but for a B2B oriented firm, this is absolutely necessary and the ability to track conversations and pick up context from last meetings is pivotal. A good documentation culture goes a long way in preventing re-work and channelising efforts better. This saves time and brings effectiveness.

Having this centralised data, allows you to constantly monitor and track data better. The bird’s eye view is necessary to keep the marketing humming. Needless to say, a good CRM gives access to lots of data and this can be used to build automation workflows to speed things up. This will in turn help you optimize startup sales and marketing.

Resources

Originally published at https://startupanalytics.in.

Startups & Analytics