Dear SaaStr: Is It Normal to Feel Like a Pest When Prospecting for Customers for a Startup?

Yes — at least at first. Especially if you haven’t done a lot of sales yourself.

Boy, sales is hard. It’s being told No a lot. It’s having literal, or virtual, doors shut on your face. It’s figuring out how not to be a pest — yet still be a pest.

It actually doesn’t get that much easier over time, either. Yes, once you have a brand, and inbound leads, the engine gets more established. But then you raise the quotas, and sales is still hard. And then, the easy accounts are already in play for the SDRs. So outbound gets harder, too, later often.

  • So first, find great salespeople. People that can push through all the NOs. That can make prospects love them, and your product.
  • And second, value the best sales execs. The best ones are worth so, so much. Don’t overpay them as a % of the revenue they bring in. But if they bring in a ton — make sure they make a ton.
  • And third, give them a career path. All those NOs? One incentive to push through is the chance for a promotion.
  • And finally, realize once you get a great pitch down, and really do your homework, and really add value — you’re not being a pest.  You’re helping.  But only if you do it really well.  Prospects have problems to solve.  We all do.

And get rid of mediocre salespeople, or move them into another role. It’s just too hard for folks that can’t take 99 NOs. And turn the 100th into a Yes.

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