Validation is a critical part of building any venture, reducing your overall costs, speeding up your time to market and enabling you to make valuable iterations that will ensure your product sells. It basically enables you to measure how well your product will do on the market before you invest all the money, time and effort it takes to actually build it.
Finding the customers you need to validate B2C or D2C ventures isn’t always easy, but it’s cake when compared to accessing B2B customers. For one thing, there just aren’t as many B2B customers in comparison to B2C. On top of that, you’ll have to deal with the fact that they’re harder to access for a variety of reasons:
- You’re probably not the only one approaching them for an interview or review.
- Their time is usually limited.
- You’ll probably have to get past a gatekeeper before getting direct access.
To help you overcome some of these barriers, we’ve compiled a list of five tried and true tips you can use to find and recruit B2B customers to validate your venture.
Join or create a group that’s relevant to your B2B customers
A great way to find the profiles you need for B2B validation is in their own natural habitat. Join or create relevant groups on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Slack, where you can interact with your target audience. Webinars are also a great place to start a conversation and connect with otherwise hard to access profiles.
Here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself before you start your search:
- What kind of topics would my target audience be interested in?
- Is this group or webinar relevant for people who would be interested in my offering?
- Does this group or webinar touch on the pain points my product or service can solve?
Once you’ve found some groups to join, pay attention to the conversations, share your input on the subject and don’t be afraid to hit up interesting profiles for some feedback.
Use LinkedIn for targeted B2B profile searches
The LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great tool for finding B2B profiles. Think of it as a huge B2B database that enables you to make super targeted searches based on things like:
- job title
- Keywords (just to name a few)
It even provides additional information, like whether your lead has changed jobs recently or if they have any shared experiences with you. These are all things you can use to break the ice if you decide to contact them.
Although the service isn’t free, in many cases, it can be worth the money, especially if you do a lot of this type of validation.
Reach your B2B audience with YouTube ads
YouTube may not be the first place you’d search for your B2B target audience, but you can’t argue with some of the stats:
- Over 80% of B2B marketers agree that YouTube content leads to views and purchases.
- 46% of B2B tech buyers purchase a product or service after viewing video content.
- 52% of executives reported watching work-related videos on YouTube at least weekly.
With an ever-growing number of people using video content to keep themselves entertained, informed and up-to-date on various topics, YouTube ads are a great way to expand your reach. The trick is to narrow your audience down to a specific target audience that might find your offering compelling.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Use keywords that are relevant to your product or service.
- Use Google’s Geo-Targeting to run ads in specific areas.
- Choose relevant video topics for your ads to appear on.
- Test out different YouTube ad formats and see which works best.
Keep in mind that although skippable ads require content that engages in the first few seconds, they only require you to pay after thirty seconds of viewing.
Use sites like Reddit and Quora
Sites that provide user-generated content like Reddit and Quora can be a gold mine for finding niche audiences and early adopters.
- In Reddit, the trick is to get actively involved in relevant subreddit communities.
- In Quora, try answering questions related to your offering or a pain point that it solves.
Once you start a discussion, you’re bound to come across some of the profiles you need to validate your B2B offering.
Turn cold emailing into “warm” emailing
Cold email prospecting has been done to death in almost every industry and most of them end up either getting deleted or in a spam folder. A great way to get past that hurdle is to add a bit of warmth and familiarity to the process. For example, you can start by getting on your B2B customer’s radar with:
- A targeted ad
- An introduction from a mutual contact
A little research also goes a long way in providing some common ground for conversation and discussion (e.g. published works, awards received, a recent promotion, etc.). Making a reference to these events in your email can help break the ice (e.g. Congrats on your new promotion!) and increase your chances of engagement.
Although validating a B2B venture can be a tricky endeavour, following the five tips above is guaranteed to get the ball rolling - and the data you’ll get in return makes it well worth the effort!
Are you looking to validate your B2B venture concept? We’ll use the latest lean experimentation techniques to get the feedback you need to take your venture to the next level.