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:
- 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
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Invest in Getting to a Mini-Brand
– Brands are highly defensible, a proxy for whom to trust, and huge air cover.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.