Get bought—not sold

We’re back with more from the SaaS CXO Summit, except this week, we’re taking things a step further and including a few of our favorite presentations. You can check them out here, and hear our favorite bits of the talks below. Cheers!

🏫 Founders should aim to have their businesses “bought, not sold,'' because your return is nearly always higher when interest is inbound. It’s just much more difficult to convince buyers of your value than it is to lead them to it, which is why PathFactory CEO Dev Ganesan suggests educating potential buyers from the get-go. He exited his 3 last companies to strategics and is clearly the guy to take tips from here—these are our favorite suggestions Ganesan had.

  • Map your ecosystem to understand who the key players are like corporates, investors, and even thought leaders. Buy-in from these influencers will garner the attention of buyers who have a deep understanding of the space.

  • When it comes to buyers, think quality, not quantity. There is no use in building a list of 500 buyers if there are all moonshots. Come up with a much smaller list of 10-15 real opportunities that could make sense.

  • Once you have identified the top buyers, look to build partnerships and integrations as a means to get your foot in the door. If the partnership goes well, there could always be potential for acquisition. 

  • Try retargeting potential buyers through channels like LinkedIn and Facebook with the same ads you would use for your target market. This is a clever way to keep your name top of mind without looking desperate.

🐝 While a bit of a buzzword, account-based marketing (ABM) is really just solid, strategic marketing based on understanding your ideal customer profile (ICP) then being ultra-targeted in how you reach them. And the stats tell the story: 91% of B2B marketers said ABM increased their ACV, and also upped their win rate by an average of 36%. Sigstr VP of Marketing Justin Keller has implemented his fair share of ABM campaigns and offered these thoughts on how to operationalize ABM.

  • Identifying your ICP will make or break a campaign. To do it right, look at your recent history of closed/won accounts and see what the common denominators are. 

  • When it comes to selecting accounts to target, have the marketing department select 20 targets, and sales narrow them down to 10. These numbers will depend on your ACV to an extent.

  • Build a content matrix that segments accounts by industry and person. This will make account alignment and landing page construction much easier.

  • Now that you’ve segmented accounts by industry and profile, take it a step further by determining the best way to engage each type of account (targeted ads, email, direct mail, phone/meeting, etc.).

🎏 Trendkite founder and CEO AJ Bruno knows all about High Velocity Sales. His sales team scaled the company from 0 to 25m in just four years, and all it cost him was his hair (his words, not ours!). Despite their enormous success ($225m exit in January), he had a hard time tracking his team’s performance and commissions, which led him to his current venture, Quota Path. 

While other technologies in sales enablement typically take a top-down sales approach, Bruno is flipping things with a bottom-up approach—targeting sales reps with a freemium model. The goal is to then move upmarket to managers, and eventually to the VP of sales who pay the big bucks. Looking back at his Trendkite days and early success with Quota Path, these were our three favorite takeaways.

  • It’s better to underhire than overhire, so don’t add reps to the team until it’s absolutely essential. This will avoid potential redundancies and hassle if growth isn’t linear (and it’s often not).

  • Be as honest, open, and genuine with your team as you possibly can. Yes, there are some things you can’t share, but the more transparent you are with employees, the more valued they will feel, and the harder they’ll work.

  • Spend 7-9 a.m. every morning (or even before if you’re an early bird) to organize your day so you can hit the ground running. Those two extra hours a day amount to 480 hours a year that you’re giving yourself.