Most startups never reach the $1 million mark. Roughly 95 percent of startups will never achieve that level of revenue. On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we visit with Sangram Vajre, “The Accidental Evangelist,” about what he learned from building a company and how to achieve $1 million.
Sangram founded a company called Terminus, and he had a front-row seat to see what building truly looks like, and along the way, he achieved $20 million revenue in about a year and a half.
Most people who start a company begin because of a problem. They understand the problem but they quickly become product-obsessed rather than problem-obsessed. They believe their product will solve the problem, and it might, but they lose sight of the fact that no one has a perfect product right out of the gate.
The process is evolutionary.
Even Salesforce, which is a $10 billion dollar company, doesn’t have a perfect product. The company constantly adds and changes its products.
Don’t fantasize about the product. Instead, fantasize about the problem you want to solve. It’s a huge mind shift.
Sangram started a community called “Flip My Funnel” and he invited media, influencers, and even competitors to speak at the event.
Once everyone was talking about the problem, the market grew and Terminus was able to find its market.
Become obsessed with the problem you’re trying to solve.
Figure out how big your market is. Determine the right use case that works for your company and then build a community around that use case.
If you’re selling a product to marketers, to B2B companies only, that’s the niche you want to carve out. You must dominate that vertical and own that topic.
Build a community and build ideas around that topic and galvanize everyone in the company and the community around that idea.
There’s so much power in singularly focusing on one topic so that you don’t get distracted in many other areas.
The people who listen to you are going to win if they listen to you and they’ll become customers for life.
For Terminus, they defined their market as every B2B SaaS company with a certain revenue and a certain number of employees.
They focused on letting every one of the companies that could eventually be their future customers to know about them. They knew where they wanted to go, so they took the camp and went there and met with people.
Sangram said his thinking changed when he realized that, although no one wants to lose a prospect, it’s much more painful to lose a customer.
Your customer is someone you have an intentional relationship with. Sangram started calling everyone a customer or a future customer.
That means you have to know the company you’re trying to sell to and you have to know that they will benefit from what you’re trying to sell them.
If they don’t become customers today, it’s okay because they’ll become customers tomorrow.
Focus on only your future customers rather than focusing on everyone. The list should be short so that it matters to you if you lose one of them.
The words we use matter. We’re all humans and emotions impact us.
During a discussion with Jay Baer, author of Talk Triggers, Sangram discovered that every single touchpoint is either building your brand or trashing your brand.
If you’re sending a newsletter every Wednesday but you aren’t sure that it’s truly adding value, you’ll never hear from those future customers. Every time you do something that isn’t adding value to their day or their life, you’re taking away from your brand.
Think about every touch point as something intentional.
Although the sales strategy in the early days of Terminus wasn’t intentional, Sangram identified three things that helped the company be successful.
1. Rolling thunder
Every month you must do something to get the market’s attention. Do something oriented to your market. Something bigger than just a blog.
2. Big rocks
Many startups have a never-ending list of things to do. Instead, focus on the big rocks, or the things that will truly move the needle.
3. Small wins
Companies often neglect small wins. How do we celebrate small wins instead of focusing only on the big ones? Change your culture so that small wins matter as well. Small wins create the momentum that gets you over the big hill.
Say one “thank you” every day. Acknowledge your team with handwritten notes. Let them know that their work matters.
“$1 Million” episode resources
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