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Once you (the founder) close your first batch of customers, you need to start thinking about whether you should hire a sales rep first or a sales manager.
Jason Lemkin from SaaStr suggests three steps to building a great sales team.
- First, close 10-20 customers by yourself (founder / CEO).
- After closing 10-20 customers, hire two sales reps and run an A/B test.
- Once two reps are hitting quota, then hire a head of sales.
Jason suggests hiring two sales reps when you're building a sales team.
If you hire just one, it's difficult to understand the relationship between the inputs and outputs. But if you hire two, you will be able to find whether it was due to a great product, great performance by reps, etc.
Jason suggests running A/B tests with two reps to improve sales performance.
How do you evaluate a sales rep? A simple but effective way is to ask yourself below two questions.
- Would you buy from this rep?
- Does he or she have at least 18~24 months of relevant experience?
Jason shares his list of 10 things that always work in SaaS marketing. It is especially more effective when deal size is bigger.
The first five can be done by yourself, and the next five need someone who has done them well before.
- Customer Conference
- Weekly Webinar
- Content Marketing
- Road Trip
- Share Your Roadmap & Receive Feedback from the Largest Customers
- Highly Personalized Outbound
- Top Industry Events
- Partner Marketing
- Website Redesigns
- Podcasts & Videos
Dave Gerhardt, the first marketing hire at Drift, and now founder at DGMG, says you need to create a new product category if you want to disrupt marketing.
Creating a new product category doesn't necessarily mean creating a great product. It's about making a compelling narrative, so customers view your product as a completely new and innovative product.
In addition, you need to launch continuously in the category you created. A product launch is the best way to generate customer attention. You can launch new features, major updates, and bug fixes.
Creating a new product category is not easy, but you have the potential to change the game entirely – if you have a great product.
Nathan Barry from ConvertKit shared what worked for ConverKit to reach 100%+ net revenue retention.
- Invest in Product Quality: Ask customers and find the most painful parts of ConvertKit to fix them.
- Promoted Annual Plans: Encouraged customers to choose annual plans by updating the pricing page and pricing options.
- Improved Support Quality: Grow the support team to reduce response time, invest in training, and reward top performers.
- Focused on Professional Creators: Build and market to professional creators who are ConvertKit's ICP(Ideal Customer Profile).
- More Accessible Entry Pricing: Offer a free and more accessible plan.
- Added Ways to Grow Your List Faster: Referrer, shared contents, Subscriber preferences, and better landing page.
- Launched Upsells: Upsells account for 15% of ConvertKit's expansion revenue.
- Solved More Problems for Creators: Helped creators earn money through ConvertKit.
Everyone thought ClickUp wouldn't stand against the big competitors in the project management software space. Despite playing in the world's most competitive industry, ClickUp was able to reach $20M ARR in less than a few years with "zero" outside funding.
Zeb Evans, the founder of ClickUp, shares 3 lessons he learned while bootstrapping his way to $20M ARR:
1. Natural Product-Market Fit (NPMF) creates faster and more sustainable growth than artificial.
NPMF is the only way to achieve product-market fit without spending money on sales and marketing. To achieve NPMF, the organic users are the most important people to you. So, focus on what they are saying about your product.
2. Pair actionable feedback from organic users with your vision.
Get feedback from your early organic users on your product. Then, find the intersection between their feedback and your product vision. This is the sweet spot for the NPMF – Natural Product Market Fit.
Make sure that you don't let your customers define your vision because they are not creating your product. If you let it happen, you won't be able to differentiate from other products in the market.
If you align customers' feedback with your product vision, launch your product as soon as possible.
3. Iterate and ship fast as your life depends on it (it does).
ClickUp shipped every Friday for the last two years. New releases include new features, requests, and bug fixes. Your product doesn't have to be perfect, at least at first. It's "progress over perfection."
Launch as soon as possible, and improve anything necessary.
Relate is a simple CRM software built for B2B SaaS startups. We're in private beta! If you're down to try, reach out to us!