Learning resources for DevSales

Getting your first 10 customers

Biggest takeaways:

  • Contrary to what we hear, if you build a digital product, people won't come, you have to put in just as much effort getting the first set of customers as you did creating the product itself.
  • Find early prospective customers by scouring your network, relevant online communities and tracking down relevant people at companies that may be a good fit. Note it's not something that's inherently scalable and that's ok.
  • Check you're not wasting time on reaching out to these people. Are there any signals that suggest they are already happy with a competing product for instance.
  • Follow up. A follow-up isn't necessarily spamming, assume they haven't had a chance to read your message.
  • It's a scrappy process at first but you'll get better the more you do it. Who knew?

Building Things to Help Sell The Things You Build – Patrick McKenzie (Patio11) – MicroConf 2013

Biggest takeaways:

  • Charge more for your product - at least understand if there's gaps in your plans (e.g when you need just a little more than one plan but don't want to have a hefty jump in price)
  • Email is a powerful tool for getting and retaining customers.
  • Invest time into your copywriting as it has tangible impact in the sales process.
  • Get out of your comfort zone to ask people hard questions like why they didn't want your product or why they cancelled their subscriptions. These are learning opportunities.

Building Things to Help Sell The Things You Build – Patrick McKenzie (Patio11) – MicroConf 2013

Biggest takeaways:

  • Charge more for your product - at least understand if there's gaps in your plans (e.g when you need just a little more than one plan but don't want to have a hefty jump in price)
  • Email is a powerful tool for getting and retaining customers.
  • Invest time into your copywriting as it has tangible impact in the sales process.
  • Get out of your comfort zone to ask people hard questions like why they didn't want your product or why they cancelled their subscriptions. These are learning opportunities.

Founding Sales

EBook/website targeted at entrepreneurs looking to get sales for a SAAS product.

Steve Blank: Acting on Customer Discovery

Stories around the importance of going out and talking to customers from the angle of sales and product discovery.

Ideal Customer Profile via Morando Method

Takeaways:

  • Software engineer turned salesman who has strong opinions on methods of selling to what he classes as enterprises.
  • "Ship code, ship revenue. We're all in sales"
  • He defines the enterprise as someone who pays annually > $10,000 and expects a degree of hand-holding along the way.
  • Aim for businesses with between 25-150 employees. Beyond that, it's harder for a decision to be made. Prior to 25 it's unlikely they'll be looking to buy enterprise software

How to Validate Your Idea & Launch to $7k in Recurring Revenue – Rob Walling – MicroConf 2014

Takeaways:

  • Much more focused on product discovery than sales
  • Variation of the Lean Startup idea
  • Reach out to a bunch of people you know might be interested in a product offering and solicit 2 things: would they be interested in this idea and would they be willing to pay $X per month.
  • Once early validation of concept is clearer, launch a landing page to collect early signup list members (waitlist).
  • Gently publicize the landing page via word of mouth, drop hints on social media and tangentially mention in podcasts/interviews to garner intrigue.
  • When you spot some influencers in your waitlist, get them involved in the alpha version as their word of mouth has a lot of value and tends to lead to journalists who will talk about you
  • Once you've reached a critical mass, you can start slowly onboarding users, ensuring each one's experience is concierge managed to iron out the kinks before you open the floodgates. You don't want to have a horde of early adopters hitting the same bug, only to never return again.
  • Pick the right early customers as you won't waste your time on features the core won't need. The "right" customers is subjective but it's those who you're specifically targeting.
  • Find the minimum path to awesome (MPA). In the case of Drip, it was when someone got their fist email subscriber
  • Onboarding progress indicator was useful to ensure people didn't churn early on Onboarding header on webapp page

How to Web 2015: Larry Gadea - From 0 to 15 million. The story of Envoy

Takeaway: How to get customers and scale without sales and marketing. Used product innovation and design as a differentiator to create word of mouth growth.

Good email copy templates for sales

Real emails taken from big name companies used for sales and follow-ups