Today I had the opportunity to spend 90 minutes with a startup in town and talk about their go to market strategy. They launched a couple months ago and have signed up 10 paying customers through a combination of referrals and general search marketing. The big problem: sales aren’t going as well as they would like, cash is running low, and they don’t have a sales strategy.
The biggest challenge for technical co-founders is transitioning from being product builders to product sellers.
Here’s the advice I gave:
- Prepare to be the sales rep, sales engineer, and product manager
- Charge significantly more than initially thought for the product and listen for people saying the product isn’t worth it (that happens more often than people saying you should charge more)
- Manage the four main sales metrics: calls, demos, opportunities, and deals won
- Understand they’ll be ratios like the following: to win one deal it takes three opportunities, to get one opportunity it takes three demos, and to get three demos it takes 150 calls
- Pick the most promising vertical from the first 10 customers and use Jigsaw.com to generate a list of 500 applicable companies plus employees
- Plan for four hours a day of calling on the companies, with the expectation that it’ll take 8-10 calls per company to get the right person on the phone
Employing this strategy will quickly reveal if the right vertical has been selected, and if so, a path to success will be eminent.
What else? What other recommendations do you have for startups working on their sales strategy?