Customer journey for B2B startups

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This guide is aimed at B2B technical startup founders and employees, providing insights into sales and marketing fundamentals. It outlines the customer journey in four key steps: targets, leads, opportunities and customers.

Published/Updated on Feb 12, 2023

How to setup a customer sales journey for B2B startups

Original post: Guide to sales and marketing for startups

This is a guide to sales and marketing for B2B technical startup founders and employees. It explains the fundamentals so you can understand what the business people are actually doing. Enjoy!

The customer journey

The person’s journey happens in 4 steps: 
> Targets
> Leads
> Opportunities
> Customers

The further a person gets through the funnel, the more likely they are to become a customer. Let's dig in to the first step of the journey.


To figure out who our targets are, we need to do some marketing. We can break down marketing into four parts:

We need to understand our target's demographics, behavior and preferences. That information combined makes up a "Customer Persona". We now understand generally who our targets are, but we don't know them specifically (i.e. we don't have their names, emails or phone numbers). We need to now get their contact information. Each target that we identify with contact information becomes a lead.


The best way : inbound marketing :

Outbound marketing is interruptive and "pushes" unwanted content, like a commercial, to our targets.
With Inbound marketing, we create useful content, share it on social media and "pull" people to our website, where they will eventually provide us with their contact information in order to access our content. When they do, they become leads.

Marketing automation system :

In order to stay sane and keep track of our leads, we need infrastructure (software and tools) to make our jobs easier. There are a few items that are most important:

  • CRM software : Each time we engage with a lead, we have a record of what we have told them so far and what we need to do to move them along in the journey.

  • Marketing automation software : A software that we use to carry out our marketing tactics, from writing a blog to sharing on social media to creating our website.

  • Reliable phone system : Most of these solutions are VOIP (voice over IP), which means the phone connects to the Internet instead of a jack. This makes it easy to scale more phones as needed.

For successful sales and marketing, the CRM, marketing automation system and phones are tightly integrated and share data between themselves. This ensures that everyone on the team can see the most up-to-date information about a lead.

Measuring success: marketing metrics


The B2B startup way: inside sales.

With inside sales, the selling happens over the phone. Because so many startups use an inside sales model primarily, let’s dig into how it works. Converting opportunities to customers using sales happens in a few steps:

Qualifying leads involves speaking to people at the lead stage, determining if they meet our criteria to become opportunities, and if so, scheduling time for them to learn about our product in a sales meeting.
--> who makes this happen is a Sales Development Rep (SDR) = entry-level sales person who interacts with leads, confirms that they are qualified

Demo and discover + engage and solidify : we need to speak to qualified leads, understand their problems and demonstrate how our product will provide a solution.
--> the person responsible for making this part happen is an Account Executive (AE) = more experienced sales-person who only engages with qualified leads. The AE approaches customers not as a sales-person, but as a consultant.

Close customers : the AE that closes needs to:

  • Reiterate solutions to the person's problems

  • Squash sales objections

  • Quickly handle contracts

  • Follow up and follow up again

  • Follow up and follow up again

Sales tools: eliminating the tedious

When we are sending out tons of emails and dialing the phones many times each day, we need tools that can make tedious processes, like data entry, easier :

Measuring success: sales metrics.

Alignment: syncing sales and marketing

Now that we understand how to measure sales, it's important to see how connected it is to marketing :
- Have joint, connected goals
- Open a clear line of communication
- Develop a Sales-Marketing Agreement


Now that we have closed new customers, we need to continue to engage them to ensure that they are happy. Customers that are happy will renew their contracts and maybe even spend more. That makes sales and marketing easier.