10 Startup Sales Tips from Dreamforce 2015

Jason Lemkin and Aaron Ross gave one of the best presentations today at Dreamforce in their talk titled Tales from the Front Lines: Building a Killer Sales Team. Jason is the author of SaaStr and Aaron is the author of Predictable Revenue — both incredible resources for entrepreneurs that care about sales (which should be most!).

Here are the 10 startup sales tips from their 10 slides:

  1. A/B Test is Key. Hire 2-3 AEs & SDRs. Not 1.
    – A/B Test Helps You Learn
    – Any Sales Rep That Performs is Cheap
    – 1 Rep Performing = Repeatable
    – 2+ Reps Performing = Repeating
  2. VPs Hire: Not Too Early – And Not Too Late
    – You have to sell it yourself first. And then hire 2+ reps. But once you have two that perform, get your VP!
  3. Don’t Hire Early Reps You Wouldn’t Buy From
    – Later, you’ll need many types of reps.
    – In the early days leads are so precious.
    – You’ll never be comfortable handing them off to someone you don’t trust.
  4. Make Sure You See the Customer Segmentation Pattern Early Enough
    – The Pattern is Set Early – $500k ARR
    – One it’s repeating, be confident.
    – You’ll have an “organic” type of core customer.
    – So from $1m – $10m ARR, just double down on what seems to be working.
    – Deal sizes will go up but pattern will stay the same.
  5. If You Can, Go Upmarket Faster
    – If you can get one enterprise customer, you can get 10
    – If you have one customer in an industry, you can get 10
    – The outliers aren’t anomalies. They are the future.
  6. Invest in Getting to a Mini-Brand
    – Brands are highly defensible, a proxy for whom to trust, and huge air cover.
  7. Never Allow Revenue Per Lead to Drop
    – PR. Marketing. Upgrade the team. More customer success.
    – Competition doesn’t really matter for revenue per lead.
    – Deal sizes should go up.
    – You should only get better at closing.
  8. How My 2nd VP of Sales Double Sales in 90 Days
    – Immediately upgraded the team to proven closers. The first week.
    – Got the most out of the team he inherited and got rid of the ones that weren’t working.
    – Didn’t attempt to do it alone.
    – End pipeline as a metric and any credit for it.
    – Embraced competition.
  9. It Gets So Much Better at Initial Scale
    – No matter how bad you are at X or inexperienced at Y you will learn in SaaS.
    – Great will get ever better.
    – You will get even better. Guaranteed.
    – You will become a great SaaS CEO.
  10. Not Doubling the Plan
    – Once the team was great, we exceed the plan. Every quarter, every year. Always.
    – I should have challenged us to do even better than 120% of plan.

Want to learn more? Pre-order Jason and Aaron’s new book From Impossible to Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue.

4 thoughts on “10 Startup Sales Tips from Dreamforce 2015

  1. Love this – Especially agree with #3. No cheeseballs allowed! Does not matter how great their network and how awesome their resume, need early salespeople you like, trust and most importantly would buy from.

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