Awesome People - Ep 108
The GTM help you need & milkshakes
Hi founders and fellow VC Friends!
We deliver awesome people to your inbox. These are the people you need to know —the marketers, sales gurus, engineers, and ops wizzes — who give your startup superpowers 🚀. The best part is, everyone is hireable.
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Please meet Lauren Feld, Your Fractional GTM Leader 📈
I met Lauren over a year ago via the angel investing community. I quickly learned that she’s a total GTM and community-building powerhouse. Lauren recently founded Indigo, a go-to-market agency.
Over the course of her career, Lauren has supported 200+ startups. She’s worked at Techstars, ConsenSys (a blockchain venture studio), and startups backed by USV, Sequoia, Placeholder, Venrock, Multicoin, and other top VCs.
She’s worked on everything from blockchain to dev tools to healthcare to climate tech. Some of her highlights include bootstrapping the launch of Ceramic, a decentralized protocol, and singlehandedly running a multi-day blockchain workshop for the CTO of PayPal.
Fun fact — Lauren is also the founder of The Women’s Collective, a peer mentorship group for female executives in crypto. With 110 members, they’re on track to be the next “Chief for Crypto”.
Lauren builds marketing, community, and sales functions from the ground up. You can hire her to work on the following:
Brand Development and Positioning
Full-Funnel Marketing (Content, Product, Paid & Field)
Sales & Partnerships
Want an intro to Lauren? Respond to this email, and I’ll connect you!
Lauren was gracious enough to share 3 GTM tips with us here ✨
Focus your brand messaging on the “job to be done”
Many startups fall into the trap of grounding their marketing strategy around the “what” of their product — think features, technology, or market demographics. The Jobs-to-be-Done Framework (JTBD) is a powerful marketing technique that shifts the focus from product attributes to understanding the specific "job" customers are trying to accomplish.
Take the story of a fast-food joint that wanted to sell more milkshakes. They started by conducting interviews with customers. They asked questions about the thickness, flavor, and other attributes of the milkshakes. They quickly discovered something unexpected: most of their milkshake sales occurred in the morning.
Customers were purchasing milkshakes as a quick breakfast alternative during their morning commute. The value proposition for these customers was not just a tasty milkshake but rather a fast, easily consumable breakfast on the go.
Armed with this insight, the fast food joint repositioned its messaging and offerings. Instead of focusing solely on the milkshake itself, they positioned it as a convenient breakfast option, competing with other on-the-go breakfast items like bagels and pre-bottled smoothies. By emphasizing the speed and portability of their milkshakes, they tapped into the specific job their customers wanted to accomplish: a quick and satisfying morning meal.
As a result, milkshake sales boomed.
The Jobs-to-be-Done Framework helps you understand your customers' needs and craft a compelling value proposition that resonates with your target audience.
I recently helped reposition a company that marketed itself as a "web3 loyalty and rewards program." By applying the JTBD Framework, we realized that the job was not enabling brands to experiment with web3 tech, but rather to boost retention by creating a more engaged audience. This new positioning aligned with their customers’ specific needs, unlocking growth and an improved sales motion.
Get customer input while you’re building your product, not after
I see many early-stage teams develop a product for 12-18 months before launching it. They struggle to get traction and eventually realize that they built the wrong thing. My advice: stop building product and start prototyping!
How to accelerate your path to PMF 👇
I encourage teams to develop low-fi mockups that showcase the main workflow of their product. I love Figma for this, but Google Slides works too! Don’t worry about making it look pretty. The purpose is to create a simple visual representation that brings your product and value to life. Before your dev team starts writing code, take this mockup to customers and start getting feedback. Ask the following questions:
What are you trying to accomplish in this workflow?
How do you do it today?
How does this new mockup change your workflow?
Would this be valuable?
How much would you pay for it?
What features are we missing?
The information you’ll learn in these early conversations will play a critical role in shaping your product and ensuring you build in a customer-centric way.
Here’s what you need to get started:
Low-fi mockups that showcase the main features/workflows of your product.
A one-pager that explains your problem statement, core features, benefits, and use cases. You can pull templates from Canva.
A simple pilot agreement to sign up early access customers. If you hook a fish, be ready to reel it in! If you’re pre-product, offer them to join a pilot program for early access at a discounted rate. This gives you the flexibility to increase pricing down the road and is lightweight enough to avoid getting bogged down in Legal. Fun fact: I’ve seen teams enter into hundred-thousand-dollar relationships with only this agreement place!
Growth is a multi-disciplinary sport
“Growth team” is misleading. Growth is not a function — it’s a mindset and strategic objective that needs cross-team support. Here are a few general workstreams to evaluate based on your goals:
Positioning: What language do you use to talk about your product? What are the key messages and unique value propositions that differentiate you from competitors?
Ideal Buyer Personas: What customer segments should you target (demographics, geo, industries, etc.) Who are the right decision makers (e.g. the CFO or the Controller?)
Content Marketing: How do you create a compelling and cohesive narrative across web, email, blog, and socials to increase awareness, build brand equity, and generate leads?
Field Marketing: What conferences, trade shows, or other events do your customers attend? How else can you access customers face-to-face (i.e. product demos, webinars)?
Product Marketing: How are you educating your customers about your product? What demos/tutorials do you need to increase adoption amongst existing users and make the UX seamless? What sales collateral will most efficiently move users through the funnel?
Performance Marketing (Paid Ads): What are the best channels to reach your target audience? What messages resonate the most with each audience in A/B testing?
Business Development: What sequence of steps in your sales process yields the best results (i.e. call, demo, then contract)? How do you charge/price your product?
Partnerships: What strategic relationships would help you access a new customer base, expand your product offering, or unlock another key objective for the business?
Product: How do you funnel market and customer insights back into your internal teams and product roadmap? How do you link roadmap items to user needs & sales priorities?
Risk: What are the main market, competitive, or economic risks to growth for your business? How can you develop mitigation strategies or hedge against them?
Want an intro to Lauren? Respond to this email and I’ll connect you!
As always, please let me know if you have any questions and if you want an intro to Lauren!
Founder of Awesome People Ventures & Talent
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Awesome People Continued 🤩
Brooke, Your Creative Brand Genius — creative directed and wrote award-winning campaigns at companies like Google, Amazon, R/GA, and Digitas. Today, she runs her own creative studio, Baubo, that helps brands find their souls and launch them. You can hire her to help you with brand strategy, naming, verbal identity and copywriting, visual identity and design, packaging, website creation, and campaigns.
Jeremy, Your Freelance Product Designer — helped 20+ startups establish design systems, ship beloved products, and raise capital with clear, concise, and beautiful pitch decks. Before consulting, he led design for Square’s Invoices, Appointments, and Virtual Terminal products — tools millions of small business owners use.
Yiren, Your Technical Writer — founded Frindle, a technical writing agency that helps developer-facing software companies with technical content. You can hire her to produce technical blog posts, tutorials, how-to’s, and whitepapers, or refresh your documentation.
Want an intro to Lauren, Brooke, Jeremy, or Yiren? Respond to this email, and I’ll connect you!