Announcing a blog series – GTM for startups

I spoke yesterday at Startup Saturday Pune on Go to market (GTM) for Hitech products. Sandeep and Vishwa are two fantastic people who run this forum. Sandeep is a passionate and articulate entrepreneur who runs Acton Biotech while Vishwa is the quiet and meticulous entrepreneur who runs eventNu.com. Both of them keep coming up with ideas that I find exciting. This time, they started off several weeks ahead of the event by creating a question bank on an email thread and then on eventnu.com. Thus, all the speakers knew exactly what was needed from us and we came prepared. In the end, Vishwa did a rapidfire section where he asked some of the questions that we had not covered. Thus, it was a session where specific problems were addressed. However, given the format and time constraint, I think we didn’t cover as much ground as we could have.

In the blog posts to follow, I’ll attempt to answer some of the questions from the question bank. The idea is to expand on what I said at the event and also to reach a larger audience. I’ll post these to the Headstart Blog as well and will also invite other folks to answer these questions. The questions I’m looking to answer in the next few posts are:

  1. I am a technical person and CTO of my startup. I have no experience in sales and marketing. Where should I begin from ?
  2. How do I get contacts for selling software? I know that in the beginning, I have to go and sell my product, but how do I get contacts? Cold calls?
  3. When shall I decide to go for PR? How much spend is optimal on PR?
  4. My services are not very differentiated (I am typical web services company). How do I get mindshare from my potential customers?
  5. I am a six (twelve?) month old startup and I have been doing mostly been doing things pro bono for large companies/clients. How do I ask them to write a cheque?
  6. Building a client list through personal contacts / references is fine. But this is not a scalable model. This would require your personal expertise all the time. How do you build a sales team then?
  7. Sales Tactics
  • How do you get past the receptionist / gatekeeper?
  • How do you find out who is the decision maker in the target company?
  • You found a contact and wrote a mail to the individual. He/she does not respond back. What do you do?
  • You give them a call. They respond by saying that they are busy this week. Please call after a week/month. What do you do in this case?

Look forward to comments, views and more questions.

BarCamp Mumbai 3 (and BCB6)

BarCamp Mumbai 3 seems all set to rock. With almost 600 people on the list, we can see over 400 turn up. We had some initial worries about the pace of topic registrations, but putting the topics onto the main page seems to have made a big difference. In addition, there will be several additions at the venue. Quite a few people have mentioned it in the registration list, in mailing list or even offline.

I’ll have two sessions at BCM3. First is a FireTalk. Details only at the talk but it has something to do with unconferences. Second will be the launch of Startup Saturdays in Mumbai. Do drop in and add your views.

BarCamp Bangalore 6 meanwhile has been announced on 19 and 20th April at IIM Bangalore.

Its interesting to see these two events shape up side by side. Both have a very enthusiastic planners team. Both teams have seen an increase in number of folks who want to be planners. In fact, we’ve had people add themselves to the Google groups or crib on the general list about being left out from the planners list. In the end, all got included in the true spirit of BarCamps. The confusion arises since each edition has a different planners’ mailing list. This allows for new faces to come up and olds ones to recede. The only criteria is demonstration of some degree of commitment for doing things. Usually turning up for a planning meet is enough. This time all commited folks got into the planners list and I guess more would be getting in.