Targeted Customer Acquisition for B2B Startups

by Danielle Morrill


I can’t believe how many startups I see driving up their cost of customer acquisition with just this one mistake: no clear list of target customers.

If you are selling business software (enterprise, SaaS, whatever) stop reading this post and make a list of 10 customers whose logos you want to put on your website as customers. That probably wasn’t too hard, but how long would it take you to make a list of 100. How about 1,000?

This is table stakes.

The first thing that gets in the way is the research process. What would you do to start? You’d probably Google around, look at the customers listed on your competitors’ websites, look at your existing customers and try searches for similar prospects, maybe look through the list of attendees at an industry event you went to. None of these are bad ideas, but they’re labor intensive and imprecise. Sales development interns at every B2B software company are doing the same thing.

Maybe you’d just buy some Adwords or Facebook clicks and pray.

But really, why not just burn money?


Lead scoring is awesome, when you have leads.

The problem is, in the beginning you don’t have any leads. You need to build a target list, and that’s why I’m spending every waking moment working on Mattermark — so you can say “show me all the healthcare IT companies (your vertical) in New York State (your territory) who have raised $5M or more in new funding (they can pay!) and have at least 20 employees (they’re big enough to use whatever you’re selling)”.

I just used Mattermark to do this search and I’m looking at a list of 78 companies who you should be dialing today.

If you didn’t filter by funding, 113.

If you didn’t filter by employees, 325.

If you didn’t filter by geography the list would be over 10,000+ companies.

This is your entire future customer list, and you don’t know who is on it?

If you are not thinking about the specific accounts you intend to win, you are losing to your competitors and burning precious cash standing still. If you are casting a your lure with ads, content, maybe an email newsletter but you have no focus and are just hopeful that someone is going to magically pay you, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Email addresses are effectively free.

I say ‘effectively’ because they cost $1 or so with services like LeadGenius. You’ll be hard pressed to buy an ad from Google or Facebook that garners email addresses of people you actually want to contact for that low of a price (by the way, we actually spend around $1 per contact which also includes full name, job title and telephone number).

If you can contact anyone prospect on the planet for $1 the issue is no longer how to craft the net… it’s what to SAY. It’s about what you MAKE. It’s about the VALUE your business has to offer, and the skill of your sales development team in conveying that value. It’s about whether the conversation you’re starting is worthwhile for the other party.

What are you waiting for? Sign up for a free trial of Mattermark to start making your target lists. We’re tracking more than 800,000 prospective customers for your business. They are the fastest growing technology, tech-enabled services and bootstrapped private companies in the world.