A little over a year ago, I started at import.io as one of the first ‘revenue-focused’ hires. The challenge was to close the first deals and find out if we really had a business on our hands (it turns out we do).
The types of skills needed during this phase differ from those needed to sell more mature products. They include a facility for communicating with many parts of the organization, a tolerance of ambiguity, a deep interest in the product technology, and a talent for bringing customers together with various functional teams within the company. Salespeople must be resourceful, able to develop their own sales models and collateral materials as needed. We think of this kind of person as the “renaissance rep.” — Mark Leslie, Havard Business Review — Sales learning Curve
I’ve always had a hard time finding content about the early discovery sales stuff. So I figured I would share my lessons learned over the last year at import.io in this post: Continue reading
I studied mechanical engineering at school — facts, figures and logic… I never fully recognized the true power and value of storytelling in business. I knew stories were a necessary part of building a business — something you throw together and slap on the About page on your website. But I hadn’t ever personally had any sort of experience that proved to me the value, benefit, and utter importance of really developing a clear and structured story.
But I’ll never forget the day that all changed — the day we told a story to a group of investors and closed out our seed round with a16z and Draper Associates. Continue reading
To build a successful business, you have to be able to effectively define, develop, and achieve product/market fit.
In other words, success doesn’t come when you wait to launch until your products or ideas are perfect — instead, it comes when you’re able to identify a strong need in a good market that can be satisfied with a product you can ship.
This concept is great in theory — come up with a product-market fit hypothesis, develop an MVP, market it, and see sufficient sales volume in a short amount of time to validate demand — but what do you do when you’ve been at it for months and you’re seeing no traction, or worse, when you get initial traction, but you just can’t seem to repeat the initial sales success? Continue reading