#6 B2B SaaS Sales

I’m Ivan Landabaso, VC at JME.vc. I also love surfing and combat sports. Welcome to Startup Riders, your bi-weekly startup caffeine ☕.


  •  Quick Update: Joining JME Ventures.

  • 🏹 Selling Software: Insights from a Silicon Valley native SaaS salesman.

  • 👤 Getting to 1000 users: Lenny’s 7 strategies for consumer apps.

  • 💵 Recent Deals: Galgus, Pridatect, Scoobic Group and more!

  • 💭Thinking or Reading: The Bitcoin white paper, instinct, and more!

Check out the Community Group to meet fellow riders and share your experience 🤙

 Quick Update

I’ve been running this account behind an avatar for the past few months. My name is Ivan Landabaso and I just joined the JME Ventures team after spending a few years at Facebook.

I feel very lucky to join this team. I’m also super grateful to be able to live and work in my country after many years living abroad. I believe Spain has an incredible amount of potential to grow into an amazing startup ecosystem.

Plus, we have some epic surfing spots.

🏹 Selling Software

My friend Rob Lawrence is a Silicon Valley native, ex-Adobe and has been working at BloomReach (B2B SaaS) for the past 10 years. We met in California in 2014, and he has been smashing his sales targets ever since. Rob deals with (very) long sales cycles, in an insanely competitive industry.

Q1: What made you go into Sales and what are the best / worst parts of the job?

The best part of Sales is that no two days are ever the same.  This keeps the job interesting and challenging at the same time.  I also enjoy getting to meet people and getting to know them as a person – not just someone buying a product. Many of my closest friendships have developed out of working together with someone during and after a sales cycle.  The worst part is the constant pressure to hit your numbers.  It is relentless and never stops. So it is important to be able to deal with this as it can be mentally taxing.  There is also a lot that is outside of my control during a sales cycle which can be frustrating because even if I run the perfect sales cycle, there are things that can happen to tank a deal that I cannot impact.

Q2: What are the 3 key attributes of a top software sales-person / what skills do you recommend startup salespeople should sharpen?

  1. Natural curiosity – a top salesperson has a natural curiosity and always wants to learn.  They self-educate and find ways to constantly improvement. They also constantly run experiments to figure out ways to improve their sales process and figure out what is, and is not, working.

  2. Resourceful – a top salesperson is resourceful and will figure out how to get things done with the resources at hand. At a start-up, resources are scarce, so you often need to figure out how to get things done by doing them yourself.

  3. Perseverance – a top salesperson has perseverance and grit. That means they are able to persevere and press-on even with adverse conditions. Sales is hard. Sales is even harder at a start-up because you are having to build things from scratch.  Being mentally tough and able to preserver is key to long term success.

Q3: When it comes to B2B SaaS startups - what advice would you give to the founders  to set up an effective sales team? How should they empower you?

Avoid putting lots of process in place and things that get in the way of selling.  Keep the internal meetings light so your sales reps can focus on what you need them to do the most, which is sell!  An advantage of a start-up is that they can be nimbler and react faster than a big company so do not lose this advantage. Allow your sales teams to run experiments. Encourage them to try new ways of selling and experiment with new pricing models. Expect some of these experiments to fail, and let your team know that is okay to fail as failure helps pave the path to figuring out what works.

Q4: Any books / courses / resources / advice / lessons from Silicon Valley would you give to B2B SaaS Spanish Startup founders?

Get people on your Board that can help open doors to prospects. Many of our best leads came from our Board members. Same goes for investors. If you are taking venture capital money, try to take funding from a venture capitalist that has connections to (or has funded) the types of companies you are targeting so they can provide introductions to C-level executives.

Q5Tips for writing a good sales email?

Keep your emails as short as possible and put the reason for your email in the very first sentence as people often do not read past the first one or two lines.  The longer the email, the less likely it is you will get a response from it

👤 Getting to 1000 users

This great piece of research by Lenny Rachitsky offers actionable insights on how major consumer apps acquired their first 1000 users. He identify’s 7 strategies used by his entire sample:

I particularly enjoyed reading about the offline tactics:

💵 Recent Deals

💭Thinking or Reading

The Bitcoin White Paper

We all hear about Bitcoin all the time, yet most people have not read Satoshi Nakamoto’s original white paper. At least read the abstract 😉:

Voca.ai’s Cool Demo

This company was recently acquired by Snapchat. Watch the demo and you’ll understand why. Their 2 algorithms:

  1. Speech to intent - classifies the meaning from speech itself (more accurate than speech to text)

  2. Speech with intent - ability of "human" AI to speak back and use "empathy".

Instinct Is Everything

A fantastic short post by Cardinal, were the importance of instinct and serendipity is discussed. If you are interested in exploring this further, I highly recommend you read Siddhartha - by Hermann Hesse.

If you find this interesting, please consider sharing with your friends. I’d also love to get your thoughts and feedback on Twitter. Until the next one! 😃