By Patrick McKenzie | Full Article | 4250 words | Feb 21, 2018
3 minute read
If you build it, they will do absolutely nothing.
If you’ve never done this before it will suck but you will get used to
You have advantages most sales reps lack: the ring of authenticity,
commanding understanding of the problem domain, and the ability to
make changes to the product to close early deals almost in real
Why ten? You likely won’t be able to sustain your business with only
ten customers, but by the time you have ten happy customers, it isn’t
a fluke anymore.
Good base comparison is pitching: just trying to get to the next
convo with the interested party
How do you find prospects for your company?
New leads: Google, LinkedIn. Just gotta hustle
Don’t buy leads until you’ve exhausted this.
How do you determine if prospects are good or not?
Early adopters, of lots of things. Find users of companies that are
also early. Like, find a young version of Trello and find out which
companies are using it.
This lets you dodge a major objection to going with a new company,
which is the risk factor: clearly this customer has sufficient
tolerance to adopt a solution from an “unknown” provider; they’ve
done it before.
On the internet
Just easier. You know they’ll be open to SaaS
Light sales cycles
Not much insulation between decisionmaker and people you are
talking to. If you’re not talking to someone who can make the
decision to buy your software, move on or move up
Businesses for which being intrinsically reachable is a prerequisite
(accountants, lawyers, other service providers) will always be
willing to pick up the phone and talk to someone on spec
How should you communicate with customers?
Prove you put in some work.
Example: Hiya Karen, I really enjoyed your presentation about
repeatable processes for finding new customers for financial
planners, particularly the points regarding user personas.
Start providing value.
You have clout as a founder. Use it.
Example: I run a software company which helps small businesses
optimize their online advertising, including managing campaigns for
different personas. For example, I see from your website that you
are active with business owners, retirees, and young couples, and
our software would let your ad creatives target the right audiences
with the right creatives and the right offers. I have some ideas I’d
like to run by you for how to better align your online advertising
and your landing pages. For example, your Facebook campaign for
engaged twenty-somethings currently sends prospects to the
retirement planning questionnaire, but a better choice might be your
post about talking about money with your loved ones.
Ask for a small, specific thing.
Don’t do anything else. Just leave it for them to respond.
Example: I’d like to talk about how we could help your company
convert more prospects into sales. Do you have 15 minutes free this
How should you go about following up?
Follow up! There are a million reasons you didn’t get a response, and
very few of them are actually “I will never buy this product”
Early on, just handwrite a nice bump.
What should you ask for on the call?
Spend your time on the call establishing rapport with the customer,
learning about their problems and motivations, qualifying them, and if
appropriate ask for an opportunity to do a longer ~45 minute demo call
or present a “formal proposal.” If they’re amenable to that, then
you’re off to the races.
How can you get better at this over time?
Just keep doing it. Document lots of things so that eventually you’ll
have a codified, repeatable process.
Feedback loop from sales to product and back again.
**This synergistic interplay of product development, marketing, and
sales is one of the joys of running a business. **