Episode 1 Ventures
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Episode 1 Ventures

GTM IV — What tools should we use and where can I access advice? By Siobhan Clarke

Over the years of working in sales and with seed stage startups focused on B2B software, we’ve picked up a few rare resources which are consistently useful. This list is not intended to be fully inclusive, in fact there are a number of other regular reads, sources and people to access depending on the situation.

This is simply a list of what we’ve found the most consistently useful related to GTM.

Understanding your Future

Sales Acceleration formula

Although the book lays out what Mark effectively developed at HubSpot, which is a more mature than most seed based companies, it’s a very important and a mind evolution read. It sets out what an effective vision for the evolution of your organisation — that tie between product and sales and a deep use of metrics to establish everything from building the sales team to refining individual customer personas. Often at seed stage, we’ve got a simple approach to Sales — this is correct. Read this and hold capsules for a future successful organisation.

Sales Learning Curve

Despite being written in 2006, with some examples that are a little dated — this is still one of the most insightful short reads on the journey that software companies will go through. There is a balance of how the founders bring passion and convert the first customers, sales teams are created and overall how the organisation will grow. By Series A, you will have seen a movement on a sales learning curve.

“The more a company learns about its product, market, and sales process, the more efficient it becomes at selling, and the higher the sales yield”

Understanding your Customers

Simple — often overlooked — resources

  • Customer and market insights — keep it simple with Google, Medium, Twitter (Instagram, Reddit and all your other social sites). Lots of amazing free reports, written insights from individuals passionate about an area, including your potential customers,VC themed pieces and adjacent market providers. Ensure to check sources, cross check and question data points. Find and follow those potential customers — understand what makes them tick as individuals.
  • LinkedIn — is a goldmine for customer data, everyone has volunteered their information — It helps you break down why the roles and personas of your customers exist, gives insight on connections plus how big their companies are.
  • Customers — especially public ones — use their company reports for insights, for figures related to what you’re building. NB — this is one of the most overlooked resources, sometimes, we can seem incredibly knowledgeable because we read the shareholders report for their key customer. You should know your early customers deep in their organisations, how they’re measured, what success is for the organisation.
  • Elephants, deers and rabbits — a common and well used understanding of the customer base, this great piece from Mark Suster in 2009! Definitely still holds equally valid today.

Driving Product Led Sales

For software, the product will end up speaking for you, hopefully on a daily basis. Getting this right as a seed-based start-up will require deep customer insight, often some work ‘consulting’ with customers and most definitely several iterations of a self-service model (If appropriate).

One of many great stories of product led sales is the Intercom approach. Specific yes — but the useful thing is that Des Traynor is an incredible speaker and has been very open on sharing the Intercom approach. Check out his slide shares and also his talk from Turning Fest 2018.

For more specific Product-Led Sales, OpenView Partners invest in the expansion stage of software companies and they shout all about their learnings. There’s a lot of resources — the key one sets out the elements of excellence in customer experience, enabling the product to be an extension of your culture and brand bringing clarity to enabling one person to ‘love’ your product first.

Communicating Value

Essentially this will answer the question around pricing. Price Intelligently has the data and insights to back up the recommendations they give. They also share widely a bunch of great resources and their process focus on understanding your customers and then ultimately iterating the value equation.

Measuring your Success

Too often GTM is simple seen as a simple outcome of revenue. The standard thought process of the £1mARR for a Series A, followed up with a bunch of other metrics on LTV, CAC is short sighted. The majority of investors at Series A will be looking for progress on the business model, not simply hitting a specific number.

The key resource on this component, especially for SaaS metrics, is David Shok — he’s another all-round expert whose frameworks and open source tools are widely referred to and consistently useful.


Over a series of blogs, we’re focusing on the Seed to Series A step of GTM and share what it means to think through the customer experience:

INTRO — Why we’re all in Sales

GTM I- The Detail: What are the individual areas we should think about?

GTM II — Playful Customer Dynamics: Connecting with customers

GTM III — What doing it correctly actually looks and feels like?

GTM IV — What tools should we use and where can I access advice?

Coming next:

GTM V — Pitching to VCs — What to tell us about your customers.

We do more than just blogs — after all the writing of theory is easy. We work with our portfolio companies at a deeper level on an accelerated approach to crafting a properly and considered GTM that delivers results. Working with a wider ecosystem of expert partners and existing expertise within the Portfolio Companies, we’re embedding customer culture into the heart of success for start-ups.

We welcome input from you — expertise, areas to hear about more.

Comment below or tweet at the link.

#GTM #SalesDoneRight #CustomerExperience #startupsuccess





We are passionate about the technologies, the ideas and the business models that are reshaping the world. But most of all, we love the dreamers, the technologists and the creators that are making this happen.

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We are a seed stage Venture Capital fund, investing in early stage software companies in the UK, passionate about the technologies and the ideas!

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