Q: Should an early- stage B2B startup meet every customer face-to-face to receive feedback?
Now that we’re back to in-person meetings, it’s in some ways a different world. We’ve gotten used to closing bigger and bigger deals over Zoom. Prospects and customers aren’t really expecting face-to-face meetings anymore, even for the biggest deals.
And yet … now we’re all seeing deals close faster, win rates go up, and customers buy more, when we actually meet them again in person.
So as a rough rule, who should you take the time to go meet? Because it does take time. The answer really is — meet as many as you can in person.
But some rough rules to think about:
- Meet every local customer that you can Uber/drive to in the early days … if they’ll take a meeting (a lot won’t want to). Try to meet every single of your first 100 customers in person that are local, no matter how small the deal size.
- The more your product is a “solution” vs. just a tool — the more meetings you should take. To learn how your solution is really being used.
- Meet with ALL your top 10, or top 10% customers. So if you have 50-70 today … if nothing else … meet in person with at least the Top 5 or so. It will dramatically increase the odds they deploy, expand, and stay. Customers love to meet with the CEO. You owe it at least to your top customers.
- If nothing else, try to spend 20% of your time with your existing customers. Everyone spends too much time on prospects, and not enough time with closed customers.
Having said all that, what’s clearly changed is when you meet your prospects and customers in the funnel. With the rise of Zoom as a core meeting tool, the face-to-faces in most cases are not later. Founders don’t meet with VCs for a first meeting — they meet for a penultimate meeting. And in sales, folks are less and less likely now to fly out for an initial meeting, and more likely to fly out for a meeting further down the funnel. Zoom and all this has changed that.
But it hasn’t changed how important it is to meet face-to-face with your top prospects and customers. It’s just changed a little bit when you do.
And if you’ve been a bit slow to get to back to that, to those IRL meetings, well it’s time. Because your competitors are.