This text was written by Rob Snyder, former co-founder of HourWork and current founder and CEO of Reframe, a provider of tactical training and fractional executives for early-stage B2B startups.
A friend recently got here to me for go-to-market (GTM) advice. His company just raised their Seed round. On the time, that they had about $200K ARR, very comfortable customers, and a differentiated product.
Their goal is to succeed in $1M+ ARR in the subsequent twelve months. In the event that they can achieve this, they’ll be more likely to either raise their Series A or get to profitability and proceed to scale the business. If not… things get scary.
Their “beachhead” customers were ex-consultants and ex-MBAs who were managing teams in large organizations.
Their challenge? The founders believed they needed to work out find out how to expand beyond this beachhead. They were anxious their ideal customer profile (ICP) was too narrow, because there are only a couple of thousand individuals who meet their beachhead criteria. They imagined saturating this market and revenue growth halting.
So what did they do?
They stopped specializing in GTM for his or her beachhead customers to check a bunch of various ICPs.
They fell into what I call the optionality trap: Trying to unravel to multiple customer types ensures you fail for all of them. Founders attempt to “preserve optionality” and sell to multiple different kinds of shoppers. They wind up selling to no person.
The Optionality Trap
You don’t need a bunch of various kinds of shoppers or a bunch of various GTM motions to get from Seed to Series A.
You would like repeatability. Which suggests find out how to generate sales conversations, convert those sales conversations, and generate comfortable customers by following a normal playbook.
When your GTM is repeatable, you’ll be able to generally predict what buyers are going to do and say next. You’re less often surprised in sales conversations, and you’ll be able to start handing off sales to dedicated sellers who may be nearly—or more—successful than the founders at closing deals
Repeatability is the muse for scale, because when your sales process is more science than magic, you’ll be able to generally start hiring more people and predict where your revenue numbers are going to go. But when your sales process is magic and each deal feels different, it’s nearly inconceivable to “scale.” It’s hard to rent a bunch of magicians, and even harder to show scientists into magicians.
That’s the issue with attempting to serve multiple ICPs with multiple sales approaches. Every deal feels different because every deal different. It’s nearly inconceivable to work out find out how to get any—or all—of your ICPs and sales motions repeatable. GTM stays magic.
Which means as a substitute of diversification, you would like into very specific customer types and high-conviction GTM motions. This results in predictable, repeatable GTM. Plus, you usually retain the to expand to other customer segments, product lines, or GTM motions when you’ve made one repeatable and successful.
Now, back to my friend. When he understood the , he realized that as a substitute of ignoring his “beachhead” ICP, he needed to double down on his ICP. He focused on ways to generate more meetings, drive more referrals, and improve conversion rates inside this beachhead customer segment.
Now, his sales cycles are quick. He speaks this customer’s language. They’re so comfortable, they refer their friends. He’s now in a position to hire a sales team since the sales process is easy, predictable, and even fun.
He’s also realizing that his beachhead is organically expanding as his initial ICP refers him to customers of various profiles. In time, as he hires salespeople to administer sales to his beachhead, he may begin to explore a more deliberate ICP expansion. Or he may create a separate GTM approach targeted to a latest ICP that he has more data points behind from organic referrals.
So what? Lean into *who* and *what* works.
Once you’ve raised a Seed round, you almost certainly have a wide range of customers. Some are decently comfortable, others are grumbling. A couple of are your “Hell Yes” customers, who bought quickly, are extremely comfortable, and have even referred others.
My suggestion: Lean into your Hell Yes customers. Determine why they are saying “Hell Yes,” and do the whole lot in your power to seek out others who’re similar to them.
I call this, “Leaning into who works.”
When who works, you then need to lean into what works.
Your product probably does a wide range of awesome things. And your Hell Yes customer picked out a subset of those things and them.
Ask yourself, “What did this Hell Yes customer It’s rarely what you thought you were selling.
It helps to review recorded sales and customer success calls to work out what your Hell Yes customer was trying to perform. It’s value talking to them as well. I attempt to create a mental documentary film of what was happening of their world up until the moment they selected to work with me.
Once you understand who loves you, and what they really bought, you’ll be able to design your sales outreach to seek out nearly equivalent customers and sell what they need to buy.
This makes selling repeatable and fewer magical. You cope with fewer variables and might make high-conviction bets. Plus, if you lean into who and what work, your product roadmap gets straightforward. You field fewer feature requests and support tickets out of left field. And your path to Series A and beyond gets much, much clearer.
Worksheet: Simplifying Repeatability
This worksheet helps founders design around who and what work. Try filling this out in only 10 minutes—2.5 minutes per query. The primary time you do that, you’ll probably be fallacious—and you’ll be able to only learn the way you’re fallacious by selling.