Building pipeline and scaling sales as a startup is not easy.
Learn about the challenges with navigating sales in early-stage start-ups — and how to overcome them. Understand the power of account-based sales with Praveen Das, Co-founder of Factors.ai and Ankit Jain, Co-founder of Clearfeed.
What we’ll cover:
Q. As an early-stage company, you have an unknown brand. Your product-market fit is yet to be achieved. Your ICP is evolving. And there’s limited tooling and team bandwidth. Getting to those first 20 customers might seem…impossible. How should you go about it? What was that journey like?
A. Startups are like hourglasses. You start with very broad ideas and segments. Then starts the journey of going as narrow as possible: “we serve this one ICP in this one segment”. And finally, you achieve growth.
Q. At this stage, what did your go-to-market engine look like? Was it mostly outbound or inbound? How did you go about GTM?
A. At this point of time, we didn’t have a market team. It was just the founders and a few engineers so there was no question of inbound.
The other consideration was whether we’re creating a category or are in an established category. If it’s the latter, you can “buy your way out”. We didn’t have this back then, so it was primarily an outbound motion:
A quick break from questions to discuss engagement-based sales models…
Engagement-based sales is a sales strategy that focuses on targeting highly engaged accounts and customizing the sales approach to fit the needs of each account (As opposed to a cold approach).
For context, the “old way” involved a standard process of defining ICP accounts, researching target accounts, reaching out to contacts within those accounts, and measuring success with KPIs.
The challenge with this is approach is:
This is where Factors.ai comes in. Factors identifies and unifies hidden account data across ad campaigns, product review site, website, and CRM to capture demand, monitor engagement, and personalize outreach & nurturing.
Engagement-based sales is the new way. Here’s how Factors helps:
Ankit and Clearfeed’s experience with Factors and the new approach
“Why aren’t we personalizing outreach to improve response rates?” is a standard question amongst founders and the standard answer is usually “it takes a lot of time to meaningfully personalize outreach”.
Then, the question was “how can we find which accounts are most engaged, so we can personalize outreach to them alone?”. Seems reasonable. So with Factors, we identified accounts from our top of the funnel awareness campaigns as well as organic traffic from educational content assets.
This set of accounts were, at the very least, problem aware. SDRs could now prioritize personalized outreach to this set of “higher-intent” accounts. This has resulted in a 5x improvement in response rate and our ability to book outbound meetings. Real-time alerts with Factors also helps with speed to response rates. These insights are also signals on what accounts care about or why they’re visiting our website.
Read more about how Clearbit leverage Factors here: factors.ai/customers/clearfeed
Other tips to improve outbound performance include:
Q. Today, Clearfeed is further along its growth journey — running ads, content, etc. How has Factors come in handy at this stage?
A. As a founder, I always want to know what’s working. With Factors, we can see what accounts that have converted interacted with pre-sales. What are their touchpoints? What pages have they visited? What topics resonate most? and more. This helps guide our content strategy, paid strategy and beyond.
The Factors advantage for engagement-based sales may be summarized as…
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