Founder-Led Sales

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  • 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.

  • 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.