FLIGHT 2018: Recent learnings from early stage Go-To-Market (1/3)

We recently hosted FLIGHT, our annual event for founders of European intelligent enterprise companies at pre series A stage. The quality of speakers and insights shared at the event was such that we wanted to share this knowledge with the wider European enterprise community.

FLIGHT is solely focused on how to scale the commercial side of an enterprise software business. On stage we had practitioners ranging from early stage founders to experienced founders/execs, sharing experiences and key learnings around early stage GTM, marketing and scaling sales.

In a series of three posts we will be sharing the videos and presentations from the main strands of FLIGHT. In this post we start with the content from the Go-To-Market theme which included:

  1. Finding your way to product-market fit (Rui Sales, Co-Founder & COO, Stratio Automotive)
  2. How to systemise sales (Abhirukt Sapru, CRO, Tessian)
  3. Transitioning from founder led sales: How to build a lean GTM team (Yodit Stanton, Founder & CEO, OpenSensors)

In the next post we share content from the Marketing theme with the final post being about early stage Sales & Customer Success.

1. Finding your way to product-market fit (Rui Sales, Co-Founder & COO, Stratio Automotive)

Stratio is headquartered in Portugal, with a presence in the US and their product is sold to both large fleet operators and vehicle OEMs. Stratio bootstrapped their way to early product-market fit before raising any equity funding. In his talk, Rui shares learnings that include:

  • Building a sales ready product by obsessing over customer needs and gathering learnings from multiple geographies to build a global product from day one
  • Hustling to close your first customers by e.g. selling to smaller customers before you have a product, positioning yourself as expensive and going the extra mile (sometimes literally) for customers
  • Your job as a founder will always be to sell, but you can hire support once you have a process that can be repeated

Watch the full presentation below! Link to slides

2. How to systemise sales (Abhirukt Sapru, CRO, Tessian)

Abhirukt was the second hire at Tessian, joining when their sales process consisted of a simple spreadsheet. He implemented the very first sales process and has been iterating ever since as the company has grown, whilst becoming more ruthless about e.g. how leads are qualified. A small selection of great insights Abhirukt shares include:

  • Defining a clear sales process early on and iterating!
  • Defining a process is a good first step, but it must be accompanied with a focus on executing a sales process to drive leads through the funnel, e.g. developing key documentation (legals, factsheets, installation guides etc.) and PoC criteria (structure by time frame and deliverables, assessment timelines etc.)
  • Creating a list of “commandments” for better onboarding and ramping of sales people, e.g. “Script everything for new sales people”, “FAQs are essential” and “Create lists of anecdotes”

Link to slides

3. Transitioning from founder led sales: How to build a lean GTM team (Yodit Stanton, Founder & CEO, OpenSensors)

OpenSensors, delivers a turn key IoT platform to any large enterprise looking to extract more/better value from their existing real estate footprint. And yet, Yodit found the overwhelming advice received/available at the time, ie. start with SMB’s before graduating to selling to enterprises, to be inappropriate for her needs. Consequently, Yodit had to teach herself how to sell into large enterprises from the get go. Key takeaways from Yodit’s talk include:

  • “Figure out why people are saying no” — Are you not demonstrating the value well enough? Are you talking to the wrong people? etc.
  • Hiring a junior “helper” to get book meetings and a marketing lead gen person to fill the funnel, focusing on 2–3 key personas
  • Having hired the first sales rep(s), figure out if you can repeat sales (with heavy founder involvement) or if early data was a fluke

Link to slides

Panel Discussion: Defining your Go-To-Market

Crane partner Andy Leaver moderates a panel with the GTM theme presenters: Rui, Abhirukt and Yodit. Some of the questions covered include:

  • How do you know when the right time to hire a head of sales is?
  • When should you hire your first marketing person?
  • Should you sell ahead of the product roadmap? How do you find the balance?

In the next post we share the Marketing theme presentations.