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HSE Fest, Day 2: Pipeline, Strategy and New Sales Channels

On the second day of the HSE Fest, experts and participants discussed the main stages of interaction with customers and what companies should do to increase sales. Here’s what else the speakers shed light on.

HSE Fest, Day 2: Pipeline, Strategy and New Sales Channels

© HSE University – St Petersburg

How to attract paid users and customers via Facebook: a step-by-step guide

Yevgeny Marchenkov and Dmitry Yugay, the co-founders of AdSide Media, talked about how to attract paid users and customers via Facebook, and gave the audience a step-by-step guide for doing that. 

They first explained why they chose Facebook versus other social networks and how they used it as their main advertising platform. Facebook provides a large number of tools within one platform, and, in addition, it is linked to Instagram.

They then showed how Facebook tools can help you engage users and customers at different stages of product development. The development of design was chosen to be the first step. Using Facebook tools—Business Management and Ads Management—you can run ads for a specific audience, share project management between team members, and analyse results of an advertising campaign.

The next step is МVP (Minimum Viable Product). After evaluating results of the advertising campaign, you will definitely need to make some changes—you must stay creative and continuously come up with new ideas in advance. One worthwhile idea is not enough, because one day it will stop working.

The last step is scaling. As the speakers said, this stage should be initiated only at the close of the project to assess its effectiveness. They also mentioned retargeting which can help to win back a disengaged audience.

How to assemble and use a pipeline and not fail

Dmitry Vorotnikov, Product Manager at Weigandt Consulting GmbH, told the audience what a good pipeline is, who needs it and how to use it properly.

A pipeline is a visual representation of where potential customers are in terms of the sales process. With the help of such representation, the entire structure is clearly visible, so the pipeline allows you to identify ‘pain points’ and gaps at every stage.

When there is an abundance of stages, such as ‘will pay’ and ‘paid’—statuses that reflect the actual state of a client, and not necessarily how a salesperson perceives it—this is characteristic of an effective pipeline.

In conclusion, the speaker gave tips on how to create a valid pipeline: build the sales process from the end, then describe the client conditions that lead to that goal, and then construct all of the pipeline's columns and distribute the transactions between these columns last.

Is it really necessary for a startup to have a strategy?

This question was posed by Oleg Amurjuev, Programme Director at York Entrepreneurship Development Institute. There exists an opinion that in the modern, rapidly changing world, strategy development has lost its significance.

However, as it turned out later, this applies only to writing voluminous strategies—you might be surprised, but some companies have strategies that are five-hundred pages long. Therefore, he recommends writing down only the key points—the strategy itself, how to implement it, and the required resources.

Mr. Amurjuev suggests developing a roadmap in five pages and presenting it schematically while avoiding long sentences—this makes it is easier to make changes. In addition, new employees are unlikely to want to read the whole collection of works. A clear outlined strategy makes it easier for new employees to learn about the company.

Teamwork was mentioned as an essential part for strategy development, as it allows you to prevent misunderstandings within the team.

Predictable revenue

Speaking about the importance of establishing close ties with customers, Vitaly Novikov, the Head of Sales at EuroAuto, wished participants a hundred customers who buy a product every day rather than a million customers who are picky and unreliable.

In addition to the fact that a product or a service should be of high quality, they should also elicit an emotional response—everyone can agree that we don't buy Converse shoes simply because they are comfortable; we also buy them because they are a symbol of prosperity and youth fashion.

There is always a motivated, organised and supervised team behind a ‘sales machine’. To ensure that employees really work as a unified whole, check for these elements: the right people, common goal, motivation, and company culture. If you have all of these, there’s no doubt that your business will prosper.

Developing new sales channels and increasing the impact of existing ones

Vitaliy Yanko, Managing Partner at SoftwareLead, proposed storytelling as the main tool for implementing an effective PR strategy. He distinguishes two types of it—for the media and for users of social networks.

The key topics for media may be expert comments on events taking place in the market, market analysis as well as an answer to the burly question ‘what really displeases you about the growth of the market?’ As the speaker said, access to the relevant media should be obtained by disseminating an email newsletter with an offer to provide exclusive articles.

As for social networks, he recommends sharing your achievements, talking about product improvements, no matter how insignificant, and not neglecting to introduce your employees to the world—customers are really interested to know who is behind all the activities of the company.