Lessons learned in SaaS startups: Chapter 9. Sell well.

Lessons learned in SaaS startups: Chapter 9. Sell well.

I was looking at a SaaS app website the other day and thinking how terrible the design and UX was, yet they were still doing well and making lots of sales, apparently.

It frustrates me when you hear about a company that’s raising lots of funding, getting lots of buzz and PR, growing massively in revenue every quarter, yet they have a terrible website or badly designed logo, or worse, their user experience just plain sucks.

In those situations I feel robbed. We work so hard at making products that look great, and have a great user experience where everything just clicks together nicely and works. I know about the things in my apps that aren’t right. I know about the blurry icons that pixelate badly on retina screens and I need to make @2x sprites when I have the time (or convert to SVG or CSS3). Sometimes I lie awake thinking about those dang sprites.

However, with all the effort that we put into making things look nice, I don’t (yet) have success stories about quadrupling growth every year, or raising another $250 million in funding. But there are companies that manage to achieve this, even though their product looks terrible, in my opinion.


Because they are really good at sales, quite simply.

They believe in the value their product is going to bring to people. They have created convincing copy that articulates this, and they have people in their team who believe in what they are doing and love their company.

I went to a conference the other day for entrepreneurs in Jacksonville. It was very good and I got to meet a lot of great people all singing off the same hymn sheet about how Jacksonville is an amazing, up and coming place for tech business growth.

There was a guy there who ran a startup and he came across as very confident and was very good at promoting his business and selling it well. I thought about myself and how I’m probably not very good at selling any of my businesses.

As I mentioned in my other post about valuing yourself and your idea:

I still felt I was charging too much for my product. I undervalued my app, and I undervalued my own abilities.

Some people are just really good at selling themselves, and selling their products. They believe in themselves and they believe in their ideas. That is sales, in a nutshell.

I need to start believing that what I have built is actually pretty darn good. And not just because I think so, but because that is what my customers tell me, on a daily basis.

I had this email today:

Your tool is really great. I have tested maybe 20 tools and this one is the best as it perfectly matches our needs. -Jan.

I need to read it, believe it, and then convert all of that into great landing page copy and sales pitches.

This applies to all the SaaS products I build, and anything I do really.

Of course it will look amazing, and it will function really well with great UX and stunning icons, but not only that, because I believe in the value it’s going to bring to my customers I can sell it well. Then the revenue growth and funding will come.

Sell well.