Founder-Led Sales Helps Identify Product Problems

When a founder leads initial sales at a startup they can quickly respond to each scenario, position the product, and answer questions. If a salesperson is the only person doing initial sales they will need a script and training to do it well. If it’s not going well it’s difficult to tell if there is a problem with the product or a problem with the salesperson.

This is why founder-led sales are important in the early days—you don’t yet know if you have product market fit.

See also:

  • Is Your Pricing Too High?

    How do you know if your price is too high? A few things could be happening: the product isn’t actually as valuable as you think, you’re talking to the wrong customers, you’re not conveying the value properly, or some combination of the three.

  • Product Design Partner

    A product design partner is an early user and potential customer that provides regular organized feedback about your product. In return, they get a hand in designing the product to fit the needs of their organization, early access to the product, and discounted pricing once it launches.

  • § How to Make Your First Sales Before Launching

    Answering the question, how do you do early sales when you are pre-product?

  • How to Write a Sales Narrative

    A sales narrative is a cohesive story that explains why customers need your product.

  • Set a Contract Minimum for Redlines

    Prospective customers will want to review an order form and master software agreement. Their lawyers will want to propose changes. This causes a few issues: it increases the cost of the deal because now you need to pay lawyers to resolve the feedback and it makes it difficult to understand contractual obligations if every customer is slightly different.

  • You Should Be Able to Get from Seed to Series a on Your Network Alone

    Most early founder-led sales will come from the founder’s personal network. Once you are bootstrapped with a few customers, you should also receive referrals from them (if you are not, that’s a signal that you don’t have something people love). For B2B startups charging high 5 figures, low 6 figures per installation, you should be able to close all of the sales you need (learning and adjusting along the way) to get from seed stage to raising your series A.

  • Figure Out What’s Wrong With a Step in a Funnel by Looking at the Previous Step

    When you are trying to figure out why a particular step in the funnel isn’t working, start by looking at the previous step. What happened in previous step that would have solved the problem you’re seeing in the next step? In sales, this is usually because you didn’t set the stage for the next stage properly.

  • Sell Solutions Not Software

    When you sell software, the buyer considers whether or not they need more software. When you sell solutions, the buyer considers whether or not this solves their burning problem. It’s more effective to sell a solution (even if it’s packaged as software) so the buyer can see exactly how it addresses their pain and how it compares to their current way of solving the problem.

  • Customer Success First Then Sales

    In the early days of a startup with a product in the market, it seems intuitively correct that you should hire some experienced salespeople to get you more sales. However, from many conversations with founders and early sales hires of B2B SaaS companies, I’ve learned it’s best to start with customer success first.

  • How to Set up an Inbound Sales Motion

    It should be repeatable, measurable, and profitable. Every product and business is different. This will focus on a B2B SaaS product.