Hackernoon logo🎓 How I am Learning Sales as a Technical Founder by@naveendewda

🎓 How I am Learning Sales as a Technical Founder

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@naveendewdaNaveen Dewda

Founder at https://district.so

As a first time founder embarking on my (intended to be a VC-backed) startup journey 🚀, I quickly realized there are a lot of skills that I need as a founder that I didn’t have. I was comfortable with talking to customers & product development due to my engineering background but I massively struggle with copywriting, marketing, and the most important one — Sales 💸.
Below I have shared some of the tips and resources I’ve found helpful while trying to learn about Sales for my previous startup. These tips are still applicable to my current bootstrap startup District.

👨‍🚀 Know your customer segment by heart

Knowing your customers is extremely important in finding out the right messaging and sales strategy for your product. It is best to create a very detailed and specific customer profile that fits best with your product. For our previous startups, a B2B SaaS revenue-based financing product, we created a detailed customer profile as a part of this exercise:

 📩 Cold emails actually work

As an individual contributor all of my professional life, I was never comfortable directly reaching out to “strangers” asking to try out our product. I came across a few posts on Reddit and Hacker News which read the following:
“Cold Outreach alone drove over $1.2M ARR in SaaS sales for me over the last 4 years.”
I was extremely hesitant in sending cold emails in the beginning, but posts like this convinced me to do it. I quickly learned that I had to make it short, to-the-point, personalized & actionable.
If there is enough interest, I’ll do a separate post on how to reverse-engineer cold emails. Let me know in the comments.

🕴️Figure out where your target customers hangout

In the early days, without any ad-budget and sales representative, it is important to know exactly where your target customers hang out the most. Then focus on building out separate strategies for each of those platforms. In our case, since we were targeting Founders & CFOs of B2B SaaS companies, it was platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and industry-specific conferences.

👨‍🎓Learn from the folks who have done this before you

Tyler Bosmeny from Clever shared some great insights about “How to Sell” for B2B High-Touch, Long cycle sales process here.
My take-aways:
  • Sales is YOU! Figure out your own process in your own context.
  • Your Passion is powerful! Utilize it in sales.
  • Your Network is bigger than you think. Do not underestimate it.
  • Selling is about Listening. 80% listen, 20% asking questions.
  • Do religious Follow-ups. Make sure these are thoughtful & personalized.

Lastly, learn by doing Sales over and over again

My final tip is to just do it. You’ll probably suck at it in the beginning, feel sad or get discouraged but so does everyone as a beginner. A/B tests your pitch & strategies until you get it right.
All the best out there! 👍
Share your thoughts:
  • How did you make your first Sale? 
  • What would you do differently next time around?
If you enjoyed this post and want to be in the learning loop for the next one, I’ll be posting more here. Find me on Twitter if you have specific questions.

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