Lee Gladish, the Co-founder, and CEO of AirborneApp discuss the right steps SaaS founders should take when launching their software companies with Matt Wolach, the host of SaaS-Story in the Making Podcast.
Lee talks about the importance of prospecting and how fundamental it is to succeed in a chosen niche. Lee elaborates on the art of problem discovery as a core to mapping out a unique selling proposition, spotting unserved markets, and figuring out that ideal sales process.
Lee also shares mistakes startups and early-stage companies are prone to make when getting off the ground. Lee rounds off with pieces of advice to new software founders starting.
Podcast: SaaS-Story in the Making
Episode: Exact Steps to Launching Your SaaS Company
Host: Matt Wolach, a B2B SaaS Sales Coach, Entrepreneur, and Investor
Guest: Lee Gladish, Co-founder, and CEO of AirborneApp
TOP TIPS FROM THIS EPISODE
Invest in Discovery
Today, anyone can have or design a great product. Almost anyone can decide to start a company. Anyone can fail too. To avoid failure, Lee advocates investing time and resources in problem discovery. To Lee, discovery is not just something you when starting. Discovery is needed at every stage your company gets to.
In the pre-stages, problem discovery entails researching, having conversations with the prospective customers or publics that your product appeals to, learning the challenges in the market you are venturing into, figuring out the right market, and working on feedback. Lee caps all of these into the art of prospecting.
Further, problem discovery could also be useful when finding the right niche, especially if you are operating in a large and saturated market. Here, discovery entails looking for neglected or niches unserved niches and uncovering problems in those niches.
Change is inevitable. Trends turn. Innovations arise and they bring about new problems. Discovery not only helps companies withstand the shock effect of change, but it also makes them drivers of change.
Be a Master of the Sales Art
As a founder of a SaaS company, the perfect recipe for disaster is to delegate the sales of your product to a sales rep without having prior knowledge of sales and without having an ideal sales process. At the initial stage, you, the founder, must figure out your ideal sales process and the nuances you need to have in place to scale effectively.
Focus on your pipeline in the initial stages. Focus on getting the basics right first. Research and do discovery. Hold conversations routinely with your market. Get the best marketing message and your ideal sales process. Once you have the playbook and the process, then you can get someone to take over from you.
The software world is saturated, to put it mildly. The world suffers from software fatigue. The software space keeps and will keep getting larger. Of course, as a software founder, you do not just want to belong in a park. You do not want to be squashed by market giants. So, finding a niche is your surest bet.
In the software world, a niche is too much of a big space. You still need a lot of market segmentation to be relevant. In that big space you call a niche, you need to identify neglected segments. You need to find those neglected, smaller niches and rule them.
Talk to Your Market
“When I left Reply in September 2019, I did not know exactly what I and my co-founders wanted to do. I knew I wanted to build a SaaS company. I and my co-founders wanted to do something different in the sales engagement space. We reached out to a bunch of Sales teams and agency owners and we realized that the problem was not lying within the space. We figured that the problem kept coming up because companies were using software not built for them.”
“Once we decided the road to go down, we started prospecting. We were having meetings and having a lot of conversations with other products and that was great validation because people were letting us know where we were going down the right road.”
“We wanted to get the product fast. No one wanted to spend a year on building a product. We wanted to get it out in five or six months. We hired a small offshore team and it fell in our face because we pushed them too hard. We also fell on the marketing side.”
Learn the Ropes First
“You shouldn’t hire someone to handle sales until you know the right way to do it. Figure out your ideal process and the nuances you need to have in place so you can scale effectively.”
“Build your process in the initial stages. Once you have the playbook and the process, then you can get someone to take over from you.”
“Doing this helps you to get into routine conversations with your market. That will help you get your marketing message. This way, you know what your prospects are looking for.”
[06:50] “If you are going to be prospecting to your market before you have a product and they [your market] are not talking to you, you should probably put on the brakes.”
[16:37] “If you do not know the right way to sell, you should not bring in someone to do it for you.”
[21:10] “There is no quick, silver bullet to getting sales. You have to put in the work.”
To learn more about Lee Gladish and AirborneApp, visit: https://www.airborneapp.io/
You can also find Lee Gladish on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/leegladish/
For more about how host Matt Wolach helps software companies achieve maximum growth, visit https://mattwolach.com/.
As part of the founding team in his first SaaS product, Matt owned the sales & marketing processes. But he struggled to sell and gain traction for the company. It took years of learning and tweaking before Matt created The Perfect DEAL Process, an innovative yet easy to implement method for closing more software deals. To find out more, visit https://mattwolach.com/about-matt