Founders hold the key to sales
Hello there. This is a monthly newsletter from Together. Our aim is to help entrepreneurs and founders realize their true potential. We have called this series “Scale Together“, where we will discuss how to scale and scale fast. So, we will do what we do best, dive deep into our network, talk to founders, entrepreneurs, and business leaders. We decided to listen, so we can help you learn.
What can we promise you from this series?
It will be fun and smart.
It will not take too much of your time. We know you have a lot to do.
Why Founder-Led Sales Is Key To Early Success
There is no better ambassador than the founder. She understands the company and the product. She has the vision behind the product, its capabilities, and its prospects. It is why founder-led sales are the cornerstones for SaaS companies. It’s what drives growth, separates the best from the rest.
As life in the post-Covid world regains normalcy, as the GDP and the economy recover, the market is, once again, bursting with possibilities. It is ready to welcome new companies, allow new ideas to transpire. Because we know that sales is an important aspect of building a new company, and many founders shy away from it, we began from there and spoke to Srikrishnan Ganesan, co-founder and CEO of Rocketlane, a customer onboarding platform.
Sri is not new to this. He co-founded Konotor, which was later acquired by our friends at Freshworks, and has been part of the startup ecosystem for over a decade. We wanted to understand from Sri how he navigated the ‘sales as a founder’ journey. His philosophy is simple. “You know your company better than anyone else.”
Sales executives, no matter how senior, need a period of orientation. In larger companies, there are handbooks, but in the early days of a company, founders need to problem solve on the fly.
Once the founder understands the market, the business, and the pricing, things get easier.
That’s when the sales staff start their work.
As part of doing the sale, start testing which way of pitching resonates well. What analogies create that “aha!” moment.
Look at body language. Are there places where your customer nods in agreement? Remember those.
Keep testing the message that resonates with the customer.
You are the builder. You have the vision. And as someone who has spent time validating the ICP, you know how your product unlocks value for your customer.
Founders also find it easier to get conversations with the right stakeholder early on, just because the prospect doesn't see them as purely a salesperson. This helps in breaking through to the right person in case you need some evangelistic sales early on.
Some customers will ask for discounts. Don’t give it to them for free. Ask for something in return.
Set early expectations. It is at a discount for, say, the first six months. After which you pay full price.
Ask for a testimonial or consent to be part of a case study. Nothing speaks louder than a happy customer.
Ask for leads. Plenty of times, customers know other customers who will need your product. Incentivize the customer to direct traffic your way. Weaponise the discount.
Set incentives to close a transaction. Tell a customer, if you can close this deal in the next two weeks, you’re ready to throw in a further discount.
Keep your prices flexible. The market changes constantly. Your customers will tell you if you’re underpricing or overpricing your product.
What Together has been up to
A few things we’d like to share with you.
💵 Investing in Toplyne: We have a firm belief in PLG companies. Toplyne wants to help these companies identify customers, which have the capability to convert from free to paid. It is remarkable. But that’s not the only reason we’ve decided to invest in it. There’s more.
🤔 Evaluating startups: Graduates from premier institutes have had an advantage over others when it comes to finding funding. It’s an idea we find antiquated. A founder should be judged on her product idea, skills, vision, clarity of thought. And not just degrees. So, we decided to write about the way we evaluate startup teams that reach out to us. You can read that here.
💸 Founder-led sales: You’ve read the newsletter. You know why founder-led sales is so important. But we took this a step further and expanded on all ideas mentioned in this newsletter. We have added a reading list too as an additional resource. You can deep dive here.
A little social media popcorn 🍿
That’s it from us for the month. If you believe you’ve got an idea that we need to hear, write to us here. If you want to add to our resource list, this is where you will find us.
We’ve got an exciting guest lined up for next time. Until then, stay safe, and let’s build Together.