Founder-Led Sales

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  • What Does Customer Success Do at a Startup?

    At an early-stage B2B SaaS startup, customer success has one responsibility: make sure customers don’t churn. The causes of churn are bad onboarding (users fail to find value quickly enough) and not making contact frequently. Both should be addressed by customer success.

  • Discovery Questions in Sales Calls Should Feel Consultative

    I used to feel like asking a list of discovery questions to qualify a prospect during a call was awkward and not useful. Now I realize it’s actually a key part to a consultative sales experience and should feel conversational.

  • Send a Forwardable Follow-up Email After Sales Calls

    Sometimes the person that reaches out for a demo is not the decision maker. They may be a user of the product with a vested interest in solving the problem. They may be gathering information for others.

  • 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.

  • Making Founder-Led Sales a Repeatable Process

    Founders get away with a lot in founder-led sales. They know the product and the problem inside out. They have the most context from talking to users (hopefully) and can pivot the conversation when they identify a challenge. They have conviction about what the business which makes you want to believe them.

  • § How to Make Your First Sales Before Launching

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

  • No next Step, No Deal

    In sales, it’s easy to mislead yourself into thinking a sales deal is on track when it’s not. A simple way to know that it’s not is to ask yourself if there is a clear next step that both parties have agreed to. Without it, you won’t close the deal and if you do, it’s probably a nothing sale.

  • Sending Follow-up Emails Is Worth Billions Per Year

    It’s surprising how much selling happens by sending follow-up emails. We all lead busy lives (for better or worse) and a well-timed nudge can result in a sale. I would estimate that this single behavior generates billions of dollars of revenue per year.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.