As part of the antler.co June 2019 cohort, a lot of us are trying to validate startup ideas in a lean fashion. This article outlines what worked for 3 of us when were trying to do customer development in a lean fashion, and avoided building anything by leveraging existing SaaS products in the market and wiring them up smartly with some elbow grease.
Components of a lean martech stack
First up, what are the components of this stack?
- Top of the funnel: Collect a bunch of emails in your target market, or run facebook ads to get people to give you their emails or scrape LinkedIn (warning: this is against LinkedIn’s terms, and you could get your account banned if you’re not careful)
- Outbound cold emailing tool / Facebook ads manager: Send a bunch of these emails out to our prospects and have a smart and automated way of following up with them to get them to do something small like fill in a short survey or agree to catch up on a call with you.
- A landing page or a survey tool for users to register their interest: You could set up a landing page with enough details to intrigue them into registering interest for a longer call or if you’re running ads then a way for them to give you their details.
- A way to collect this information from your website and dump it in a central database: Typeform has slack integrations that send you messages to a private group or an individual with the pro plan, or use a tool like zapier to wire up the landing page tool to a google sheet.
- A way to measure the funnel: A funnel analytics tool like mixpanel.com or heap.com or even google analytics’ funnel feature.
What tools comprise a lean martech stack
Top of the funnel:
- LinkedIn is your best friend if you’re targeting a B2B idea. Use inmail, or a linkedin prospecting tool at your own risk 🙂
- Facebook ads could be useful for either B2B or B2C ideas to find a lot of your target market
- Try and find targeted facebook groups, and see if they’d be willing answer survey questions. Don’t spam or break individual group rules and see if you can add value to the group by your domain knowledge, and thereby getting the members of the group to respond to your survey
- See if there’s online forums on the web on your area of interest, and do the above there.
Outbound cold emailing tool
If you’re doing cold outreach emails, consider a tool like:
- Lemlist – cold outreach – $29 per month after a 14 day free trial
- snov.io – does both prospecting and cold outreach
- mailshake – $29 per user per month
- or other such cold outreach tools – https://www.techyoceans.com/cold-emailing-outreach-tools, https://kintu.co/outreach-email-tools
My advice would be to just pick one and run with it. Re-evaluate after a few campaigns in terms of opens, clicks and performance and then move the to next tool. I love lemlist.
These tools allows you to connect to an existing GMail account via the GMail API and send emails on your behalf. Consider creating a new email ID for every idea you’re validating so it’s on brand. If you want to go one step further, setup Google Apps enterprise on a domain, and then use that as a way to send emails. I haven’t seen any issues with using the free email service from google. There are limitations to how many cold emails you can send otherwise you’d end up being blacklisted by ISPs and put into spam.
Airtasker surveys and other methods
You could also do:
Landing page tool and a way to store info in a database
A Way to Measure the Funnel
Again, there’s tonnes of tools that do this. Just use heap, and they have a 30 day free trial after which you can write to them to get a startup plan. Or you could google analytics and use it’s funnel feature.
What does the funnel look like?
Image to come