How to acquire your first 100 customers

Asia Orangio, Founder of DemandMaven
Asia Matos, CEO and Founder of DemandMaven, walks you through the go-to-market process for winning your first 100 customers.


Key takeaways on how to acquire your first 100 customers

  • Your mission: target customers you know so well, you could complete their sentences.
  • Use a marketing framework that makes sense to you and your team
  • Focus on filling the gaps in the customer journey
    and removing friction
  • Start thinking bottom of the funnel first – Start with people who have the pain first

Step 1: Know your customer – because that’s how we become more strategic

  • It may sound obvious, but it’s a step most companies tend to skip
    • Customer research
      • Types : Market research / Competitive research / Prospect research / User research
      • Questions to ask customers: Jobs to be done Questions
        • What problem / Where have they looked / Time spent on channels / Where do they learn / Previous solutions
      • Your mission: target customers you know so well, you could complete their sentences.

Step 2 : Identify the gaps – Success Gaps – Objections / Competitive differentiators / Tools needed for Decision Making

  • You need to have a clear understanding of what your funnel looks like for your company/business. When you know your funnel, your job is to build a rapport with your customers and provide solutions. 
  • Identifying the gaps, the areas that prevent the customers from signing up. We need to make sure we are responding to those ‘leaks’ in the funnel. Identify the gaps (there will probably be multiple) and focus on filling them.
    • Where are we not meeting customers halfway in the customer journey/ What’s blocking them from completing the journey?
      • Top of the funnel – Widest audience / Widest reach – Attract your target audience with a need/problem
        • Find out missing pages / Lead magnets
      • Middle of the funnel – More educated about the problem/ need, more educated about the solution
        • Information customers will need to make a decision /Emails you need to send /What value will you need to add
      • Bottom of the funnel – Most educated about your solution. i.e. Free trial
        • What questions do your process / How will you measure performance /Are you currently meeting benchmarks

Step 3: Target the pain – It’s easy to get distracted by people who don’t have pain by starting at the bottom of the funnel.

          • The question you need to be asking yourself: What was your prospect doing right before they {Insert CTA here}?
          • Target – Bottom of the funnel = people who want to solve a pain now.
          • For example, the best project management solutions tool could be what your customer is looking for.  First, you’re probably going to go to google I go through 4 or pages. I go through those websites and learn more about them. As the consumer, I then sign up for 5-10 different products because the space is crowded. Or I may go to Capterra and look at the options and reviews. Then I go to social media, look up questions, and ask questions on Trello. That’s 30 minutes of my time, 6 or 7 channels.  6 or 7 opportunities for those companies to be at the top of the funnel.

Step 4: Define the Strategy – How are we going to win, not just a plan

    • Find alignment in who to target/why to target them /where to find them /how you’re going to execute the strategy /translate into actionable steps.
    • Be aware when: you’ve got conflicting strategies /not enough resources to execute the plan /nothing really is converting /don’t have clear action items

Step 5: Execute!

  • There are no silver bullets in marketing and growth 
  • Execution and focus are the top 2 threats.
  • You have to execute to get data
  • Try things, then measure if it works and how well it works.
  • What if we took a more healthy approach to marketing. Gathering data to inform our strategy. 
  • Iterate as we go.
  • Over time things get better and you get closer to your goals 
  • There HAS to be a feedback loop after the execution.
  • If you don’t have the time and budget to experiment, then focus on these basics instead
  • If these 4 things don’t work, it could be poor execution or a longer onboarding process.

Q and A on how to acquire your first 100 customers with Asia Orangio

Q: When doing customer research, what tools do you use? As someone with a very limited budget who cannot afford the pricey mintel reports, are there alternatives out there?

A: we just use email, and tools like Calendly to schedule, then zoom to chat and we do record through zoom and transcribe later through You don’t need to incentivise these people, it should be just people who want to help (you can give something after but don’t incentivise). We keep it low tech.

Q I’m the first and only marketer at a startup CRO agency. Prior to me, 15/20 customers – all referrals – which is amazing, but reactive not proactive as you said earlier. How can I build on that?
Q2 how does the process change as you get to customer 100 as customer 20 will be different. 

A: Your customer base evolves over time. The first ten and the last ten there will be differences. Only the pain you’re solving should remain the same.

Q: How do you feedback the research back into the company? When do you recognise you need to pivot?
A: There are different kinds of pivots: positioning and messaging, and product pivoting. Knowing the customers, gathering the data, helps leaders to make decisions to pivot or adjust things.
Positioning and messaging is a marketing thing.

Q: What are your favourite podcasts and resources?
A: Forget the funnel (most relevant to SAAS)

  • Growthhacks
  • Dave Gerhardt’s podcast