Most software founders, particularly in B2B, need to get radically better at sales. @Steli , who is the best person for explaining the scrappy stages in the beginning and then building out a team with scripts and processes, wrote a guide to:
Unlike most sales reps, founders can credibly promise tight feedback loops for product.
"If you go with BigCo, you can call them at 3 AM. Someone will listen to you politely, explain they have no solution, and open a ticket. If you call at 3 PM, same answer."
Many, many technical founders of my acquaintance want to offload this to someone ASAP. I've never seen this work: you need to have a deep understanding of your market and customers to arm that first non-founder salesperson. It is gained by doing.
These folks are capable of writing their own ticket and then, by construction, getting folks to buy it.
Sophisticated, mature processes for marketing to pass leads over to sales for qualification.
Steli is so effective at sales he has closed deals he wasn't even a party to. My favorite anecdote about this:
"Hey apropos of nothing: do you know Steli?"
"Oh yeah he's great."
"He is. Steli wouldn't let me leave lunch...
"He wouldn't, would he."
"OK then; we will."
"Great! Email me and we'll figure out logistics."
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Kindly unroll this thread for me at your earliest convenience.
Very Truly Yours,
Thanks for putting this together!
More from Patrick McKenzie
Here's how I'd measure the health of any tech company:— Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror) October 25, 2018
How long, as measured from the inception of idea to the modified software arriving in the user's hands, does it take to roll out a *1 word copy change* in your primary product?
How long does it take, measured from initial expression of interest through offer of employment signed, for a typical candidate cold inbounding to the company?
What is the *theoretical minimum* for *any* candidate?
How long does it take, as a developer newly hired at the company:
* To get a fully credentialed machine issued to you
* To get a fully functional development environment on that machine which could push code to production immediately
* To solo ship one material quanta of work
How long does it take, from first idea floated to "It's on the Internet", to create a piece of marketing collateral.
(For bonus points: break down by ambitiousness / form factor.)
How many people have to say yes to do something which is clearly worth doing which costs $5,000 / $15,000 / $250,000 and has never been done before.
In that spirit, here's some quick Things Many People Find Too Obvious To Have Told You Already.
Your idea is not valuable, at all. All value is in the execution. You think you are an exception; you are not. You should not insist on an NDA to talk about it; nobody serious will engage in contract review over an idea, and this will mark you as clueless.
Technologists tend to severely underestimate the difficulty and expense of creating software, especially at companies which do not have fully staffed industry leading engineering teams ("because software is so easy there, amirite guys?")
Charge more. Charge more still. Go on.
The press is a lossy and biased compression of events in the actual world, and is singularly consumed with its own rituals, status games, and incentives. The news necessarily fails to capture almost everything which happened yesterday. What it says is important usually isn't.
Companies find it incredibly hard to reliably staff positions with hard-working generalists who operate autonomously and have high risk tolerances. This is not the modal employee, including at places which are justifiably proud of the skill/diligence/etc of their employees.
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Taking Down an Insider Threat
"I had all of the advantages. I was already inside the network. No one suspected me. But they found my hack, kicked me off the network...
...and physically hunted me down."
Many pentests start from the outside, wanting to see how the perimeter might be breached.
This pentest started from the inside. My client wanted to assume they had already been breached, and, if breached, how far could an attacker go.
Could they stop me once I was inside?
So they snuck me in. Disguised me as a new employee. Gave me a work computer, an ID badge, an account in their system... hell, I even had a cubicle w/my assumed name on it.
The only person who knew who I really was was their CISO. Everyone else thought I was Jeremy in Marketing.
During most of the first morning, I completed onboarding, made introductions, and completed menial tasks.
But I had to act quick. I only had a week onsite. I had to hack their network while not raising suspicion.
So I set about it.
You have to understand... most "Internal Pentests" are straight forward. The hard part is breaching the network, but once you're inside, it's a target rich environment. End of Life computers, default passwords, everyone a Local Administrator...
2/ Sales is often viewed as either a saving grace or proof that the product isn’t good enough (because it should sell itself). Neither are ever true. Some common mistakes that result in...
3/ Mistake 1: Hire a sales rep before reaching product/market fit to get your initial batch of customers. This is a mistake because founders need to work through their MVP with early adopters to truly understand what it is they’re selling.
4/ Mistake 2: Reach product/market fit, need to scale, and rely entirely on self-serve. For enterprise products that require big commitments and internal shifts, almost no product is self-explanatory enough to sell itself.
5/ Mistake 3: Make a first sales hire who isn’t scrappy enough to help mold the sales process from scratch. Some salespeople are amazing at their jobs, but not cut out to establish the processes that others end up following. This skillset is what @rdedatta calls a “sales ninja”.
At first, I resisted believing this because it is illogical and dumb and frankly, doesn't reflect well on the human race of which I am a member (and thus have long been hopeful that it is more of a distinction than it actually turns out to be.)
But if you actually are interested in facts you begin to notice how little most people care for them. Sometimes it is because they are heard to learn and bullshit is so much more widely and easily available. Sometimes it is because facts make them uncomfortable about themselves.
Sometimes it is because just one tiny fact will upset a whole worldview that has grown as comfortable as an overstuffed chair. (Settling into such worldviews is a lot like settling into chairs like that because the longer you're there and the deeper you sink...
...the harder it is to hoist yourself up and out of your fat-assed intellectual laziness.) But I actually think the reason people have such an appetite for bullshit goes deeper, goes to an aspect of ourselves we just can't accept.
Brown's article at Buzzfeed starts off pretending it's some kind of really off-the-wall notion that Hillary Clinton paid for the creation of the Steele Dossier that was then used to justify the FBI's spying on the Trump campaign & transition team.
After that awful start, he swerves to making accusations that the Epoch Times is connected to the 'cult' Falon Gong.
You can read the article here:
Brown insinuates with no real evidence whatsoever that the Epoch Times is 'Falon Gong-linked'.
The 'evidence' he supplies in his article to 'prove' @EpochTimes is 'Falon Gong-linked is this:
1) the Epoch Times' extensive *news coverage* of China's attempts to wipe out Falon Gong with intense persecution directed at the group since 1999.
2) a reporter *shouting a question in 2006* at then-President George W. Bush about China's persecution of Falon Gong members.
Most software founders, particularly in B2B, need to get radically better at sales. @Steli , who is the best person for explaining the scrappy stages in the beginning and then building out a team with scripts and processes, wrote a guide to: https://t.co/2xvUBauELh— Patrick McKenzie (@patio11) October 18, 2018