Peter Kazanjy

Co-founder of TalentBin.com (Acquired by Monster.com) - Accidental early stage sales leader with the scars to prove it. Fascinated by revenue acceleration, professional identity, reputation, and recruiting.

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The Best First Round Review Articles for Early Stage Companies

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As anyone who follows me on Twitter knows, I am quite possibly First Round Review’s #1 fanboi.

The combination of relevant, actionable, and true information, delivered in such a well executed package is unparalleled. And when you compare it to the absolute sea of bullshit self-promotional content marketing (both VC and vendor) that founders have to otherwise contend with when trying to get insights to tackle day to day problems, First Round Review starts looking less like a VC publication and more a community treasure.

That, and Camille Ricketts and Shaun Young are just absolute delights.

My Favorite Review Articles

So, the other day I was tweeting about how I seem to end up following up every startup coaching meeting I have with a handful of links to First Round Review articles that, if applied properly, will help solve the problem(s) the person I’m coaching has.

My friend

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SaaS Startup Pricing Strategies

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You ready to make it rain on these prospects?

This is a section on pricing from the “Sales Narratives” chapter of Founding Sales. Other sections and chapters can be found on Twitter and you can sign up to be notified about them via email on the book’s website here.

Founding Sales is a book for founders and other first time sellers as they figure out the earliest stages of their go to markets - so the recommendations contained below should be consumed in that context.

Other resources for B2B founders I’ve published can be found here.

Pricing

Pricing is a funny thing. It could be considered part of your narrative, or it could be considered part of your sales materials. In a way, it’s the conclusion of the narrative arc for your solution: “And because of all this, you should pay us this for the right to access our solution.” While pricing is something that is likely to change—usually

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Early Stage Startup Sales Maturity Health Check Checklist

Cough!
Who’s ready for their health check!?

TL;DR: This is a “Sales Maturity Checklist” I evolved to help me be more efficient and helpful with my interactions with early stage organizations figuring out their go to market. Maybe it can help you with yours!

I end up getting a pretty consistent flow of early stage founders showing up on my doorstep (either themselves, or referred by investors) who want to “pick my brain” on topics of sales, product marketing, go to market, etc.

I’ve found these “brain picking” exercises can often be less than efficient, in that they typically happen synchronously, over coffee or a beer (or maybe a Google Hangout), without a helluva lot of structure, and thus end up ranging all over the map.

Moreover, by waiting until the actual meetings to get the most basic of context, you can end up in a situation where it becomes apparent, mid-meeting, that you actually

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What meetings should my startup be having?

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I tried to find the fugliest stock photo of a meeting. Did I win?

One of the issues I see in early stage startups when they get beyond “two people in a garage” is that they don’t consider how important synchronous information transmission can be for making sure people are on the same page. You’ve got one, two, three folks who largely share a brain, and are constantly sharing information - so why would need to create structure around this sharing, right?

Further, because they’re constantly pushing, and always on, they don’t consider the importance of cadenced checkpoints to measure the progress against their goals, and reevaluate that their previously agreed goals should continue to be their goals. You resist doing this when you have a huge pile of wood to chop, and instead just chop and chop and chop.

Lastly, because “meetings” feel like a big company thing, and man, we ain’t got

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Resources for Founders

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Yassss! Thousands of words on arcane enterprise software topics! Just what I wanted!

These are an aggregation of materials produced by, me, Pete Kazanjy (Twitter, Linkedin) to assist early stage founders. So you know I have some standing for this, I founded TalentBin which exited to Monster in 2014, wrote Founding Sales, and founded the Modern Sales Pro community.

These materials are primarily focused on b2b software companies with a direct sales go to market, but also applicable beyond.

Many of the materials are from Founding Sales (Twitter, Website), my book on enterprise sales for founders and other first time sellers, while others are materials made for the companies I advise or have invested in. Many are linked from the invaluable First Round Review, source of other great materials for founders.

Regardless of their source, the aim of publishing them here is to help folks in

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Staffing and scaling a SaaS sales org? I’ve got a model for YOU.

Ferrari or Blue Steel?Did anyone need a model?

About a year ago a founder of one of the companies I invested in and advise was asking me some questions over email about scaling a SaaS sales org.

Specifically she was thinking through the costs, timelines, and outputs of hiring sales staff, whether SDRs or AEs, and how that eventually turned into a growing business. Rather than just email back and forth on the specifics of her organization, I decided it would be best to create an abstracted, basic Google Spreadsheet model that could be used to see the interlocking parts of how that might work for a given organization, based on certain inputs (like their Average Selling Price, win rate, and more.) And that way other organizations might be able to use it.

You can find that model here:
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But then I started tweaking it some. I started out with just one tab, and one AE ramp time (3 months), but then forked the

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Startup Sales Decks for Founders

As you can see, my hair is amazing...And yes, this tie is cornflower blue.
I spent ten minutes looking for the douchiest stock photo of a sales presentation I could find. This was the winner.

So my buddy Rick Nucci asked me to take the Sales Decks chapter from Founding Sales and turn it into…wait for it…a deck to present at the Philly Founder Factory event in December.

It was well received, and has been passed around pretty heavily, so I figured I’d put it up here so folks can refer to it as needed.

The goal of the presentation is to provide a helpful framework and examples of what a beginning sales deck could look like for an early stage B2B offering, along with examples from real life sales decks! OMG.

The observation being that there isn’t a lot of documentation out there to help founders and early sales staff in putting together a killer sales presentation…which often leads to some pretty big opportunity costs and errors.

Of course this information

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Minimum Viable Video Collateral

directing-movie.jpgMy SAAS offering is ready for its closeup, Mr. Eastwood

This is a draft of a section on “minimum viable video collateral” from the “Sales Materials Basics” chapter of Founding Sales (the book I’m writing on sales for founders and other first-time sales staff.)

Like my comments on Demo Scripting, it touches on how best to use video collateral early in your go to market, but without overdoing it.

Enjoy! Hit me with feedback on Twitter at @kazanjy

 Video Overview Collateral

I’m a big fan of video to help accelerate appointment setting in early stage sales.

The accessibility of internet video is a fantastic tool for appointment setting. It provides for a richness of communication that far outstrips email templates or even visual exhibits. And thanks to mobile phones with fast data plans, video collateral can be watched anywhere, at any time at the moment it shows up in the email inbox

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Early Sales Demo Scripting for Founders

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How’s your dog and pony game?

This is a draft of a section on “demo scripting” from the “Sales Materials Basics” chapter of Founding Sales (the book I’m writing on sales for founders and other first-time sales staff.)

It’s covers a bit on how I like to think about demo scripting, and how they relate to Sales Narratives (as published in First Round Review a while back.)

Enjoy! Hit me with feedback on Twitter at @kazanjy

 Demo Scripts

We’ll talk more about the actual process of giving a combined sales presentation and demo in a later chapter. But before we get into the blocking and tackling of presentation and demo, it’s good to have a concept of the content you want to demonstrate when your prospects agree to a formal sales presentation and demo.

As with the other materials discussed, this should be done with a mind towards your narrative, and, typically because a live demo will

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I’ve Worked with Hundreds of Recruiters - Here’s What I Learned

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“Pllleeeaassseee no moar resumes….”

This post originally ran on First Round Capital’s First Round Review. It was inspired by Nick Soman

Other early stage recruiting posts here

When you run a recruiting software company, you end up fielding a lot of questions from other founders who are just starting to hire. The number one question I get: How can I find a great recruiter?

This is a top priority for good reason. If you’re doing it right, hiring is one of your most time-consuming and energy-depleting tasks. That’s simply how you find the best people at the beginning. But when you hit hyper-growth, or your leadership needs to jam on the product, this isn’t always realistic. It’s easy to fall behind. A well-matched recruiter can not only catch you up, but help propel your startup through massive step changes.

The operative part there is “well-matched.” If you end up working with a

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