Even the very best product in the world can’t sell itself. As the founder of a SaaS company, you’re acutely aware of the importance of finding a niche in the market, targeting customers, and getting sales. With this in mind, you may be tempted to hire a sales leader in the early days of your business. But until you, as the founder, have mastered what you do and how to sell it, hiring a sales leader would be a waste of time and money. Achieving Product-Market Fit and developing a Sales Playbook before you hire a sales leader can save you from making a potentially fatal error with your business.
Achieving Product-Market Fit will generate sustained growth better than a sales team
Entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer Marc Andreessen describes Product-Market Fit as “being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” More specifically, it’s when you’ve created a product that is being bought, used and talked about by enough customers that your business is able to grow in scale and profitability.
Achieving Product-Market Fit is the end goal, but there’s an important process you’ll follow to get there. That process will look something like this:
- You start with a vision. You’ve got an idea of the problem you want to solve, and the solution you’ll offer to solve it.
- You’ll begin nailing down the specificities of who your target customer is, what their needs are, and where other products or services have failed to deliver
- You’ll develop your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and start testing it with your customers
- Based on their feedback and patterns in customer response, you’ll make changes to your product, test it with customers again, make changes again, and continue going back and forth like this until . . .
- . . . You achieve Product-Market Fit
As you can see, this is an involved process, and the long term success of your business is hugely dependent on your ability to adapt to feedback. That’s why it’s best, during this time, for you as a founder to be invested in both sales and development. When you’re communicating directly with your target customer, you’ll be able to better adjust your product to meet their needs and cut down on the time it takes to achieve Product-Market Fit.
A Sales Leader will not have the tools for success in the early stages of your business, but you will
You may not have a background in sales, but that doesn’t mean you don’t know how to sell your product. You know your business inside and out – you know why you started it, who’s it for, and what makes it different, and better, than other solutions out there. And with all this knowledge, you’ll be able to develop a sales playbook.
Your sales playbook is the manual you’ll follow to sell your product. Think of it as a recipe, and you’re the head chef in the kitchen. Your sales playbook could detail what you look for in a prospect, how you initially contact these prospects, the procedure you follow on discovery calls, and more.
Bringing on a Sales Leader before you’ve developed your sales playbook would be like hiring an Assistant Chef before you’ve finished creating the recipe. They may be able to help a bit, but they won’t be able to work autonomously and send out delicious meals on their own.
Between the recruitment fee, several months of salary, hours of your time spent micromanaging, and the hit to your sales pipeline an ill-equipped sales leader will likely have, hiring for this position before you’re ready could be a fatal error for your business.
Build up your support system in other ways
There are a number of other more strategic, helpful, and less costly ways to build up a support system in the early stages of your SaaS company. This includes:
- Other senior leaders
- Customers Success
- Product Leads
These hires would help you build a more detailed and successful playbook that you could then pass on to a Sales Leader when the time comes.
In addition to this, a SaaS company in the Start-Up or Scale-Up phase is in need of specialized and in-depth financial support. At Thrive, we know the unique needs of B2B tech businesses. You’re already spinning several different plates as a founder – don’t let bookkeeping, debt chasing, financial directing, and other accountancy tasks weigh you down too.
Learn more about how Thrive can help you overcome obstacles on your journey to success here.