Finding your first B2B customers: why doubling down matters more than diversifying

A story, and the #1 rule for early-stage enterprise B2B marketing:

Last week, I talked to the CEO of an early-stage, pre-PMF dev tools startup.

We just closed our first paid pilot!” she shared.

Where did they come from?” I asked.

From this rando online expert forum, like a lead gen website,” was the unenthusiastic reply. Then the CEO asked me when I thought it would be a good time to start doing PPC ads, email marketing, and a large-scale ABM campaign.

So I shared with her the first rule of early-stage B2B marketing: 

✨If you find something that works, double down.✨ 

Seriously. Lean into it. Focus on it, at least for a while, instead of launching five other resource-consuming experiments.

Initially, it might seem counterintuitive to double down on one channel instead of diversifying efforts across the board. However, in the very early days, it’s so hard to find a channel that actually works (but we have some tips on using under-utilized, cost-effective channels that might help.) So if you finally find this ray of light, go towards it at full speed. Early-stage B2B marketing is like searching in the dark – you try 10 different things, and if you’re lucky, one works. If this one happens to be a random lead-gen website, so be it. If there was one deal that came out of it, there would be more. Continue squeezing that orange until no juice is left.

Another early-stage tip? Time and again, we’ve witnessed early B2B wins from CEO hustle, not marketing magic —our advice: skip the complex funnels for now. Focus on what you know works; leverage your network, step up cold outreach, and rely on early adopter connections to validate your offering.

To paraphrase Jason Lemkin, the goal in B2B marketing isn’t to find channels with epic performance. The goal is to acquire customers with a reasonable blended CAC (customer acquisition cost). Later on, you’ll get a lot of customers for essentially free. Word of mouth and your mini-brand will kick in, and referrals will ramp up. But early on, find those one or two things that deliver something, anything, and hang on to them for dear life. Get that virtuous cycle started.

The bottom line

In early-stage B2B marketing, the key is to double down on the rare find that works and go from there. This doesn’t mean ignoring other potential channels entirely but prioritizing and investing heavily in what’s already showing results. Remember, persistence pays off, especially when you know where to focus your energy.

Further reading

Netta is the founder and CEO of Blue Seedling. She loves third wave coffee, thin crust pizza, and B2B marketing.

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